One week after HBO premiered its documentary, Weight of the Nation, there is a dearth of commentary on this 4-part series. Has anyone out there taken the time to watch this?
I wrote about this last week. It was my hope to engage readers in a discussion about our country's obesity epidemic and HBO's handling of this very complex topic.
My post received only two comments. One came from the group, Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH). The group's website - since taken down - commented on the film before even viewing it.
Even on The Huffington Post - a forum known for progressive politics, eco-friendliness, and healthy lifestyle advocacy - there were but a few posts with a small number of comments for each.
Not surprisingly, the blog with the most comments was written by the author of Health at Every Size, proponent of the Health at Every Size Movement, and blogger at ASDAH, the ironically-named researcher, Linda Bacon. Still, her controversial counter-argument garnered less than 100 comments. Compare that with this morning's headline on the Facebook IPO that is currently at 3800 comments and climbing...
Do people just not care about the "obesity epidemic" in America?
Are we in denial that this is a public health crisis?
Or is commenting on obesity not as interesting as voicing an opinion on whether or not Facebook was worth 100 billion dollars or Mitt Romney's work as a venture capitalist qualifies as relevant experience for the office of president?
As someone who suffered a heart attack, I have become extremely interested in health and fitness issues over the past three years since that life-changing event. If a person who exercised regularly, wasn't overweight, didn't smoke, rarely drank, and tried to eat healthy could come close to dying at 43, how high could the risk factors be for 2/3 of the Americans who are classified as overweight?
I couldn't understand why commentary on this engaging HBO film wasn't trending higher on the Internet. The first few articles I found were written as opinion pieces. There was a great post by Alexandra Le Tellier at the LA Times that received only one comment. Two other well-written pieces by authors that struggled with weight issues - Mary McNamara in the Kansas City Star and Daniel J. Schultz in the Huffington Post , received one and five comments, respectively. Each voiced their concerns about what was said and what was left unsaid in the film. None were controversial.
Beyond posts like those highlighted, there was just outrage by a group that feels too much attention is being focused on the weight metric. Their outrage was nothing close to that of the NATO protesters on display last week in Chicago...
So where is the concern that the obesity rate is rising, metabolic syndrome (heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, obesity) is affecting more Americans, more children are developing Type 2 diabetes, and rising healthcare costs for this epidemic are unsustainable for our nation?
I found this series to be interesting, engaging, fair, balanced, positive, and short on controversy. The statistics presented were not delivered in a manner to instill fear, but to encourage awareness. The real-life stories didn't evoke pity or place blame. It laid the problem bare and shined a light on it. It confronted the obesity epidemic.
Now it's time for us to discuss a solution.
Read my followup post from May 24, 2012 here.