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HBO's 'Weight of the Nation' Focuses On Growing Obesity Epidemic In USA

Update Date: May 16, 2012 01:41 AM EDT
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Stories of Americans being overweight have been making the rounds for a very long time. Researches have been conducted, programs have been formulated, and the media has broadcasted it way too many times. The numbers, however, still remain startling. According to recent statistics, one third of all Americans are obese and another one third are overweight. If these numbers continue to remain the same, experts predict that the young people of America will be the first generation to die younger than their parents.

To throw more light on this issue, HBO had come up with a four part documentary "The Weight of the Nation," which explored what has led to this state of the country and what is being done to tackle this growing national health crisis. The documentary was aired on Monday and Tuesday, and consisted of four parts; Consequences, Choices, Children in Crisis, and Challenges.

"Very rarely do you hear the human stories [behind the epidemic]," said psychologist Kelly Brownell, who was featured in the documentary and directs the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale. "There are medical consequences to obesity, but there are also psychological, social and financial ones that matter, that really bear down on people and can really make their lives very, very unhappy."

Brownell also said that only a part of the documentary deals with obesity while the other parts "is also making our environment more accepting and welcoming for obese people, to eliminate biases against them."

"More than 50 percent of the food dollar is spent outside the home now, and that's a big difference [from] what it was several decades ago," said Brownell. "People are eating outside because they're on the move, they have crowded schedules, they want to take the family out for a treat - and there are so many restaurants out there now to cater to this need. ... The problem is when you go out, you tend to eat more and you tend to eat worse than when you eat at home."

"Health care costs are estimated now at $150 billion a year, and about half of that is born by public funds for Medicare and Medicaid," said Brownell. "So all of us who may or may not be affected by the problem ourselves - and may not even have family members affected by it - have our wallets affected by it, because we're paying for a good share of the health care costs."

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