“Weight of the Nation” is worth your time

Maggie Stone is the Public Affairs and Marketing intern at Children’s. She recently attended a screening of HBO’s documentary series on the obesity epidemic in America, Weight of the Nation. One of the clinical dietitians at Children’s led a panel in a Q&A session with the audience afterward. Maggie came away convinced everyone should watch the show when it premieres on HBO tonight. Here’s why.

Clinical dietitian Deborah Stern answers a question at the screening.

I knew obesity was an issue, but the first part of the four-part HBO documentary series Weight of the Nation really brought the problem into perspective for me. The first part, titled “Consequences,” premiered last month at the Studio Movie Grill on Royal Lane.

“Consequences” examines the scale of obesity and the serious health problems associated with being overweight or obese. It addresses risks such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, many types of cancer and high blood pressure.

Quotes and statistics that caught my attention include:

  • More than two-thirds of U.S. adults ages 20 and older are overweight or obese, while nearly one-third of the nation’s children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese.
  • American children today may be the first generation in history to have a shorter lifespan than their parents. Approximately 32 percent of America’s young people are overweight or obese.
  • “A child born in 2000 has a one in three lifetime chance of having diabetes. If that child is African-American or Latino, it’s one in two.”

Following the movie

The screening was followed by a discussion led by Deborah Stern, a clinical dietitian at Children’s. She was accompanied by Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, chief medical officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Debbie Clegg from the clinical nutrition division at UT Southwestern. The panel answered fellow community members’ questions ranging in topic from child obesity to health care costs.

“Children are seen every day for obesity and those children are unfortunately going to deal with a slew of problems including medical complications and social issues,” Stern said. “America needs to band together and work on fixing this epidemic. Education and widespread awareness are key in starting to make healthy changes.”

Clinical Nutrition and the COACH Program

Children’s treats hundreds of overweight and obese patients through services such as Clinical Nutrition and the COACH Program. To learn more about the epidemic, watch the entire four parts of Weight of the Nation as they air at 8 p.m. tonight and tomorrow night, May 14 and 15, on HBO.

If the other three parts are anywhere near as impactful as the first, I promise it will be worth your time.

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