Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Weight of the Nation

I am watching Weight of the Nation that I DVR'ed from HBO, but you can watch it for free here (link) online.   It's both fascinating and depressing.  Childhood obesity at record levels in the US.  Fatty liver disease, in CHILDREN, found in autopsies... a disease that didn't exist 30 years ago is not found in 38% of obese children.  30 year longitudinal studies on entire towns.  It's incredibly factual, stark, and enlightening.  I'm only on episode 1 of a 4 part series..  but wow...  should be required watching for ever American school child and every parent of a school aged child.  I've never seen so many fat people on TV before... one after another after another..  in the school yard, on the bus, in the cafeterias, at the Dr's office, at buffets....  yikes.  It's worse than a German vacation spot in Italy or the Canary Islands!

I hope being "the fat kid" that I was (3rd fattest kid in my parochial grade school class, from 2nd to 8th grade) didn't damage my heart and liver substantially in the long term, and that the almonds, red wine, desert mountain climbing, swimming, and stationary bike riding I am doing are reversing all that artery clogging franken foods my parents fed me as a kid.


  1. The trouble with the series is they are doling out the same flawed advice that hasn't worked for 40+ years - eat less, eat low-fat, and exercise more. It just doesn't work for most people and the evidence is all around us. They did spend 5 or 10 minutes on sugar saying how bad it is, but the whole show should be about sugar, refined carbs, and even carbs in general. Instead they spend a half hour on gastric bypass surgery.

  2. What Taubes thinks about it:


  3. It's not perfect, that's true, but it is better than the commonly held, stupid belief of "I'm fat and there's nothing I can do about it". It shows person after person who wants to get more healthy, and then talks about what they are doing to get there. Older women who have lost "their daughter, she weighs 107 lbs, I lost as much weight as my whole daughter". And the 400+ lbs woman who lost 90 lbs in six months by mindful eating and moderate exercise.

    The 1/2 hour on gastric bypass I thought was excellent, because it showed the old, 400+ lbs southern judge who was 63. The surgeon explained there was a 1/300 chance of complications, and fat old judge decided to do it .. and then.. bam... fistulas, kidney stones, intestinal leakages, 6 more major surgeries... obviously not a minimally invasive one-size-fits-all "why me worry?" approach.

    I concur with you Matt that it's the carbs that are getting people, but it is encouraging to see and hear many other health professionals explaining the various methods that work. And even though they are not high protein, they have many of the same aspects that worked for me - celebrating accomplishments, having a support group (you and Ron and Zim), watching my LD cholesterol, increasing my daily cardio activities, avoiding sugary drinks.

    I don't want to live in a society that's like the morbidly obese ship crew in Wall-E, who sat around on their asses all the time. Hopefully, 5 or 10% of the people who watch it will get off their asses and start improving their health and their outlook for a long & prosperous life.

  4. Well said, Joe. It just angers me to think how much suffering and death the current low-fat and count-calories thinking has caused. What the show does really well is illuminating the plight of obese people. And they did an okay take-down on exercise as a weight-loss tool pointing out things like it takes a 3-mile run to burn the calories in one candy bar.


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