Americans are eating too much and too often, and not getting enough physical activity. Unhealthy foods, such as soda, chips and candy, have become relatively less expensive, while more nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables have become relatively more expensive. What’s more, access to healthy food is a challenge for many communities.
The results are staggering: More than two-thirds of American adults and one third of the nation’s children and adolescents are overweight and obese. Obesity-related health care costs about $147 billion annually. Our unhealthy population makes it hard to staff police forces and fill the need for a healthy military force. Moreover, our national disease profiles are changing in profound and disturbing ways. Evidence of heart disease is showing up in children as young as 5. Fatty liver disease, previously unknown, is fast becoming one of the nation’s leading causes of liver transplant.
To kick-start a massive public health campaign, HBO, the Institute of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health, in in association with the Dell family foundation and Kaiser Permanente, spent three years working on a multi-part, multiplatform series, THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION, examining obesity. The series looks at the epidemic through every available lens: Personal stories, medical consequences, evolutionary and environmental causes, as well as the roles of government and industry. THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION will debut in May.