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The Weight of the Nation

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 42 percent of American adults will be obese by 2030. Currently, 34 percent of adults are obese. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or above.

Obesity seems to be rising among higher-income men while severe obesity (BMI greater than 40) is increasing in both sexes.

Obesity is a serious condition that shortens life and leads to other chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease to name a few. In addition, the rising rate of obesity slows down efforts to limit health care costs, which have skyrocketed in the last few years. Some estimates cite that compared to healthy weight individuals, obese adults spend close to $1,500 more in medical expenses each year.

The obesity epidemic has been cited as one of the most pressing health issues facing the nation today. To draw attention to it, a national public education campaign will be launched with the broadcast of a documentary called The Weight of the Nation.

The Weight of the Nation is a four-part documentary series. Parts one and two premiere Monday at 8/7c. Parts three and four premiere Tuesday at 8/7c. HBO will drop its subscriber fees during the premier and stream the episodes of “The Weight of the Nation” in English and Spanish at HBO.com to make them widely accessible to the public.

The first film of the documentary, CONSEQUENCES, sets the stage by describing exactly how obesity has become so prevalent, how urgent it is that we battle obesity, especially childhood obesity, and presents the consequences of obesity on the future of our country.

The second film, CHOICES, reveals the research behind weight loss and weight loss maintenance and presents evidence-based practices; what really works and what doesn’t work to lose weight and prevent weight gain.

The third film, CHILDREN IN CRISIS, presents viewers with the compelling reality of childhood obesity, including how damaging obesity in children is and what it means for the future of these children. Some of the footage was filmed in Wisconsin and showcases some success stories from real Wisconsin families. This film portrays what forces are at work in our society that contribute to childhood obesity, from the school environment to community settings that limit opportunities for children to engage in physical activity. It also examines the power of marketing of unhealthy food to children.

The fourth film, CHALLENGES, explores the major forces affecting obesity including socioeconomic and racial disparities, lack of physical activity, the economics of food and agriculture, food marketing and the powerful influence of the food and beverage industry has on the American culture.

The documentary was produced in collaboration with the Institute of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and other health organizations. It brings together representatives from the nations’ leading research institutions while portraying real life examples of people who are obese, what they go through and what they have done to battle this condition.

For more information on The Weight of the Nation, visit http://theweightofthenation.hbo.com/

About Julia Salomón MS, RD, CD

Julia is the corporate dietitian at Affinity Health System and also a nutrition educator. She works at various sites throughout the organization working with Affinity’s employee wellness program. She earned her Master’s degree in nutrition science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996 and became a dietitian shortly thereafter. Julia has worked on several nutrition projects abroad as well as domestically. Before joining Affinity Health System in June of 2011, she worked as a college dietitian and later in the school nutrition field. She has earned certificates of training in adult and childhood weight management. Julia has a special interest in nutrition, public health and wellness.

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