fbpx ;

Watching (and Changing) the Weight of the Nation (With Giveaway!)

There are days that I really miss school. Like, I miss going to class and studying and even, cough, taking exams. (Yep, I might have been that annoying girl you sat next to in class who took a million notes and highlighted virtually everything she read. Sorry.) I think that’s a lot of the reason why I love documentaries. It’s like going to class and learning! And the HBO documentary The Weight of the Nation, is like a crash course in the obesity epidemic in America—plus.

Being that I do what I do, I know quite a bit about obesity. And I’m sure you do, too. The statistics are everywhere: more than one-third of Americans are obese and that number may top 40 percent by 2020. You’ve probably also heard that if trends continue, obesity will cost the USA about $344 billion in medical-related expenses by 2018, which is about 21 percent of total health-care spending. I think we can all agree that’s staggering, but this documentary does more than just throw shocking numbers at you (although there’s plenty of that). It really goes into the multifaceted reasons why we’re getting heavier and what the heck we can do about it.

HBO pulled together the Institute of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser Permanente for this four-part series that interviews leading experts and individuals and their families struggling with obesity. In the first film, Consequences, you get the nitty gritty on the obesity epidemic and the serious health consequences of being overweight or obese. The second part is called Choices, and gets into more of the “what to do about it,” including what science has shown about how to lose weight, maintain weight-loss and prevent weight gain. Up next, Children in Crisis goes into detail through individual stories the damage obesity is doing to kids and the strong forces at work in our society that are causing them to eat too many calories and move too little. We’re talking everything from school lunches to the decline of physical education, the demise of school recess and the marketing of unhealthy food to children. Yeah, big issues. The final film, Challenges, dives into the agriculture, economics, evolutionary biology, food marketing, racial and socioeconomic disparities, physical inactivity, American food culture, and the strong influence of the food and beverage industry issues at play. There are also a number of bonus shorts that tackle everything from the connection between poverty and obesity to if weight is something we inherit to how a mother’s weight can affect her baby’s health. Oh, and there are even all kinds of free online resources on how you can take action and make a difference.

Yep, it’s a lot of info. Like, a really impressive amount of research on this subject. While its certainly not as entertaining as, say Super Size Me, it’s also much more comprehensive and complete. Although I wish they spent a bit more on the emotional side of overeating and living a healthy lifestyle (they do touch on food as love, food addiction and mindful eating though, which rocks!) and I don’t agree with all of their weight-loss recommendations (I know being aware of calories is important, but y’all know how I feel about obsessively counting them!), I seriously can’t recommend this series enough. It not only shares just how important and complicated this issue is, but it also puts a human face on obesity and shares the deep struggles and the uphill climb so many face.

In order to do our own part in sharing this important info, we’d like to give away our review copy of The Weight of the Nation. To enter to win, all you have to do is comment with who you’ll watch this series with. Ideally, we’d like the winner to reach as many people as possible. (We’re thinking the winner could host a friend or family watch party—or even a workplace wellness event!) We’ll pick a U.S. winner in about a week and notify them via email and in the comments.

So get to commenting, ladies! We’ve got a nation to change! —Jenn

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


  1. Karla says:

    I would like to watch this film with my parents and two siblings. I am currently the only person in my immediate family who is at healthy weight. My father and sister (31) both have type II diabetes and their health is a major concern for me. I want them to see the health effects of their lifestyle in a non-judgemental way.



  2. Tanya says:

    As the founder of a global community of women who influence positive change in about 4-6 other friends every year (GOTRIbal), I would make this film available to our numerous Tribes for “Tribal Parties”. We’d watch it here in San Diego, and then share it with our members across the U.S. and then around the world.

    I do believe that each of those institutions has a very real role in helping to make change happen. However, in my research, and now in my experience as a Founder of a company, I believe the influence and power of the individual to affect change will be the tipping point in this movement to a healthier planet.

    Women made the choice back in the 70’s to change their lifestyles because of the amazing opportunities afforded them in the workplace. Those decisions had ramifications, that were exacerbated with the advent of new technologies, crime rates, and less ‘play’ time for kids outside (“latchkey kids”).

    I believe, especially based on the last decade of economic influence that women have demonstrated in the fitness and outdoor endurance activity space, that women will now be the chief influence in slowing, stopping and reversing the rate of obesity (and obesity related diseases) in America and beyond.

    Tanya Maslach
    Founder, CEO

  3. I would love to bring this DVD to my gym and host a watch party there. We have a rooftop with a projection screen that we once used to watch the Olympic opening ceremonies and I think it would be great to organize a viewing party of this film – it looks fascinating!

  4. I would watch this with my husband, along with a few of our close friends who I think would find it interesting.

  5. Lindsey Fraser says:

    I teach nutrition to middle school students and this documentary would be great to share with them. Thank you for sharing the information!

  6. Maggie says:

    I’ve been hearing a lot about this documentary! I would watch it with my family first, because both my parents are overweight and bordering on obese. I would then organize a viewing party (complete with *healthy* snacks, of course) at my gym, because I think a lot of my friends there would be interested in learning more about the obesity epidemic. Thanks for the review and the giveaway, FBG!!

  7. Sarah says:

    I’d watch this with my husband because he’s cool and likes documentaries. Plus it will help me stay pumped to keep losing weight, especially with the holidays coming up!

  8. I’d make my husband watch this with me, he is a hard one to convince when it comes to diet impacting your health and weight.

  9. Jen Gamblin says:

    I will get together a work event on healthy living at my corp office. We have events like this all the time about other topics but we desperately need this.

  10. Sarah says:

    I would love to get this to watch with my husband. He likes documentaries and I want to make sure we’re on the same page now that our daughter is eating solid food. Maybe it’s silly to worry this early, but I want to make sure I raise healthy kids so they never deal with the emotional eating I struggle (but am totally improving on!) or the childhood obesity that is so on the rise.

  11. Katilyn says:

    I would watch this with my family…. Especially my grandparents, who I’d love to get healthy so they can be more active in our lives!

  12. Michelle says:

    I am in a book club with other fit minded friends. There are about 20 of us, but we usually have 10-15 at time. I’d like a copy of this to watch with them.

  13. Deb E. says:

    Nutrition counseling (in hospitals and care facilities) was my first career. Now I’m a nurse but I take every chance I can get to spread the word of watching weight to live a better quality of life. I’ve done nutrition talks but I would love to have this series when I’m ask to talk on health and nutrition. I’m sure this would be much more entertaining than my talks and I thank you spreading word that it’s out there to view (especially for child obesity–especially disturbing to me!)

  14. Jenn says:

    And our winner is…Jen, comment #9! Congrats! Emailing you now for your mailing address. 🙂

    –FBG Jenn

Comments are closed.