Tuesday, June 5, 2012
I am a little late bringing this to the blog, but I finally finished watching The Weight of the Nation on HBO. As my earlier post suggested, I was worried. There were many government agencies sourced in this documentary and while I am not one to point every finger at government for the obesity issues in our country, there certainly have been instances in the past where the government’s idea of healthy meals might have contributed. Some might say that the old food pyramid was built to support our grain industry in this country but in reality, those foods are not in our best interest from a health perspective. I felt this series could go either way. One thing in the film that surprised me was how they did in fact go after the grain and farm subsidies and their special interest groups. They illustrate how grain farmers and companies that have the stronghold in this industry such as Cargill get subsidies when their crops do well and when they fail. There is really not any disincentive for the grain farmers to convert farmland into vegetable farms. For the small vegetable farms that exist, there are no incentives at all. This is why processed pasta is so much cheaper than broccoli.
By the time I was halfway through the second part, I was ecstatic. It was as if they went to Hilton Head Health and stole the curriculum. From the portion control class to the basic concept of calories in vs. calories out, it was right down the middle. It addressed what I felt it should address! While watching the first 3, I was scribbling down statistics and notes but lost my paper somewhere between episode 3 and 4. If I track it down, I will come back out and post some of the notable numbers I found.
I only have one main issue with the series. It tends to be a pattern in the film to blame everyone for the obesity problem in the US. Blame the soda companies, the junk food companies, etc. These companies play a role in what we eat and how we are marketed to, no doubt. I would leave this in the series but they needed to stress that people need to be responsible for what they eat. In past posts, I came clean. What I ate was the key driver in my obesity. Sure, it was marketed to me but the commercial did not shove it in my mouth. We need to be people that take ownership for where we are whether we are talking about our own health, finance or any other aspect of our life that we have any control over.
If you do not have HBO, you can still watch these films for free online at http://theweightofthenation.hbo.com/ I would encourage you to watch as they were very informative.
They also posted some neat themes and summary level pages at http://theweightofthenation.hbo.com/themes