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The obesity epidemic is one of the most pressing health issues facing the nation today. More than two-thirds of U.S. adults age 20 and over are overweight or obese, while nearly one-third of the nation’s children and adolescents age two to 19 are overweight or obese. Obesity contributes to five of the ten leading causes of death in America, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, stroke and kidney disease.
An unprecedented collaboration of HBO and the Institute of Medicine (IOM), in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), ‘The Weight of the Nation’ takes an unflinching look at the severity of the crisis and its crippling effects on our health care system.
Made in partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser Permanente and three years in the making, it is one of the most far-reaching public health campaigns on this epidemic to date, comprising four documentary films, a three-part series for families, 12 bonus shorts, a robust website and social media campaign, a book published by St. Martin’s Press, and nationwide outreach to more than 40,000 community-based organizations.
‘The Weight of the Nation’ kicks off with ‘Consequences’, debuting Monday, May 14 (8:00-9:10 p.m. ET/PT), immediately followed by ‘Choices’ (9:10-10:25 p.m.), with ‘Children in Crisis’ debuting the next night, Tuesday, May 15 (8:00-9:10 p.m.), immediately followed by ‘Challenges’ (9:10-10:15 p.m.).
In addition, the first part of the three-part series “The Weight of the Nation for Kids,” entitled “The Great Cafeteria Takeover,” debuts Wednesday, May 16 (7:00-7:30 p.m.), with all three parts to be presented during back-to-school season this fall.
“Obesity has become one of the most serious threats to the health of the American people,” comments Harvey V. Fineberg, MD, PhD, president of the IOM, whose work, including a new study on accelerating progress in obesity prevention, is featured in the HBO series.
“If we don’t succeed in turning this epidemic around, we are going to face, for the first time in our history, a situation where our children are going to live shorter lives than we do,” says NIH director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD
“Obesity-related health care costs about $147 billion annually, and on average, it costs $1400 more a year to care for someone who is obese,” notes Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “To get healthy, we’re all going to have to do our part – individuals, communities, local, state and the federal government…We’re going to face steadily increasing health care costs, as well as more lives lost to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, many cancers and other complications from obesity.”
To reach the broadest possible audience, HBO will use all of its services, including the main HBO channel, multiplex channels, HBO On Demand, HBO GO and more. All films will be available in English and Spanish and will stream free of charge on HBO.com, as well as on multiple platforms by participating TV service providers.