OAKLAND, Calif. — Tonight, many people will tune in to watch the premiere of The Weight of the Nation on HBO. These viewers will learn the weight of the nation is too high. This excess weight is having dire health consequences: Obesity contributes to five of the 10 leading causes of death today in the United States.
“Obesity has reached epidemic levels in all segments of our society. Its costs in lost human potential, shorter lives, increased suffering and financial impact on health care and the economy are shocking, tragic and unsustainable,” said Raymond J. Baxter, PhD, Kaiser Permanente’s senior vice president for Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy.
Kaiser Permanente partnered with HBO (Home Box Office), the Institute of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to launch one of the most ambitious public health campaigns addressing America’s obesity epidemic to date. Leading up to tonight’s broadcast, Kaiser Permanente has hosted preview screenings and town hall events around the country to engage communities in discussions about solutions. Additionally, through grants co-funded by Kaiser Permanente and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, 40,000 screening kits that include DVDs of the films and discussion guides will be made available free of charge.
“Our hope is that people will see the films, talk about the issues with their families, their colleagues in the workplace, and their neighbors about what they can do and how they can get involved,” added Dr. Baxter.
The debut of The Weight of the Nation documentary series comes one week after the Institute of Medicine released its newest report, “Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation.” The report, which is the foundation of The Weight of the Nation campaign, serves as a blueprint for action on obesity prevention and identifies key prevention strategies and five critical goals:
- Integrating physical activity into people’s daily lives;
- Making healthy food and beverage options more available;
- Transforming marketing and messages about nutrition and activity;
- Expanding the role of health care providers, insurers, and employers in obesity prevention; and
- Making schools a national focal point for obesity prevention.
“Through our clinical care, workplace wellness and community benefit investments, Kaiser Permanente has been a longtime advocate and practitioner of the recommendations within the IOM report,” added Preston Maring, MD, a Kaiser Permanente physician who is featured in The Weight of the Nation documentary series for his work to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to patients, employees and communities. “This epidemic affects us all. Our hope is that The Weight of the Nation films and public health campaign will galvanize people and communities to take action.”
Beginning May 14, the four-part documentary series and 12 bonus shorts will be available to anyone, whether or not they subscribe to HBO, at theweightofthenation.hbo.com. Community organizations across the country that want to show the films can request a screening kit that includes DVDs of the films and discussion guides. The screening kit is available free of charge while supplies last and can be requested through HBO’s website at theweightofthenation.hbo.com.
About Kaiser Permanente
About Kaiser Permanente Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.