Documentary looks at epidemic of obesity

Americans are fat, suffer horrible diseases because of it, and our children face a similar or worse fate if we don’t do something about it — that’s according to the HBO documentary Weight of the Nation, which debuts next month.

I had the opportunity to go to the world premiere last night at the Blanton Museum of Art. We watched Part 3 – Children in Crisis. It was about how obesity is affecting American children, and the stories were sobering.

I found myself thinking a lot about my own kids and how just because they’re thin and active now doesn’t mean they’ll always be healthy. There is pressure from many different directions to eat crappy food and live a sedentary lifestyle, and I started to think that only constant vigilance and awareness will help me guide them through childhood.

It’s not just about how you look. Really, it’s not. It’s so much more than that. Obesity can lead to diabetes, a horrible, horrible, horrible disease. When kids are going to the doctor and being diagnosed as pre-diabetic or type-II diabetic, and it becomes COMMONPLACE, there’s a threat at hand. But it’s not the only disease caused by obesity, and that’s even scarier.

There were were a lot of people in the film blaming outside influences for how kids get fat — federal law, food company and advertising pressure, underfunded school lunch and PE programs. Some of the parents found a solution in taking their children to pediatric weight loss clinics. Some blamed themselves. I felt sadness and frustration, but I also felt hope.

Andy and I talked a lot about the film on our way home. We had actually planned to go out to dinner afterward but because of how the film affected us, we decided to eat at home, because our food is always better. I am more committed than ever to staying on our current lifestyle path — it’s a path of nutritious, real food, lots of family activity and it also doesn’t involve screens and the potential to be exposed to a constant barrage of food-like substances that have nearly zero nutritional value.

The documentary series starts on HBO on May 14. I encourage you to watch it.