Parents' Guide to

The Weight of the Nation

By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Quality obesity docuseries is educational, straightforward.

TV HBO Educational 2012
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The straightforward and unapologetic series underscores the connections between the exponential rise in obesity in the United States in the last 30 years and changing social and economic trends, like a reliance on cheap food production, a sedentary lifestyle, and unchecked urban planning. It shows how food manufacturers, who are responsible for creating marketing schemes designed to promote minimally nutritious foods (like many breakfast cereals and juice) as healthy food alternatives, continue to lobby government decision-makers to protect their ability to do so. It also highlights how these unhealthy foods are specifically marketed to children, and how this, in turn, contributes to the lifestyle habits that are resulting in life-threatening weight-related diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

The amount of information offered here can be overwhelming, and at times, a little repetitive. Nonetheless, this is a documentary that is worth making the effort to watch from beginning to end. It not only demonstrates how America's weight-gain trend is costing the nation money, time, and lives in ways that most of us don't even think about, but it shows us why individuals, the government, and corporations have a shared responsibility for combating the problem. It is an educational -- but stern -- warning about what the consequences will be if we don't confront this nationwide problem now.

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