The Weight of the Nation Is Upon Us

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Having trouble getting off the couch? Have your limbs become so large that you are now deeply ensconced into your furniture and cannot move unless it is to switch the TV on to another fast food commercial? Are you poor, or overworked, or lazy, or some combination thereof?

Are you... hungry?

We thought so. We all are. In fact, everyone in America is so hungry that we've eaten ourselves into a state of seemingly irreversible collective obesity. But you know that already.

What you may not know is that the cure to our fattiness is not as easy as "eat less, move more." At least that's what HBO's new documentary series, The Weight of the Nation, is trying to show all of us at its screening at MDC's Wolfson Campus next Tuesday.

Well, not all of us. The screening is an invite-only event, geared toward pros in the public health sector, especially those who work with children.

John Hoffman, HBO's vice-president of documentary films, said, "This is a major event in the industry. We're having events in all the major markets around the country to sound the loudest alarm that has ever been sounded on the problem of obesity."

The project debuts on TV May 14 and includes four documentary films, a three-part series titled The Weight of the Nation for Kids, and 12 bonus shorts. The films attempt to air the causes of America's obesity problem, the effects of food politics on our consumption of food, and even obesity's links to evolutionary biology.

But it's not just about the films. HBO is also promoting the healthy initiative with community outreach campaigns throughout the country, heavy on the social media and -- for those who want to watch but are not nurses, the films will be available online for free. The series' website also provides a screening kit for anyone who wants to host a viewing.

"When we do these public health campaigns, we turn our business model inside-out," said Hoffman. "We make the content available free of charge. You don't have to have HBO to watch these programs. We encourage everyone to go to theweightofthenation.hbo.com."

For the Tuesday premiere at Miami Dade College, HBO partnered with the Miami-Dade County Department of Health and Make Healthy Happen Miami, a government initiative to make "healthier choices" available to Miamians.

The documentary screened will be part three of the Weight of the Nation series, "Children in Crisis." According to Hoffman, the focus is on children because for the first time, their life expectancy is shorter than those of their parents.

"This is the first time that we are regressing on the advances of science," he said. "We want people to know that there are actions they can take today, not only for their own good, but for the good of the country."

At the event, there will be a mini-farmer's market and healthy cooking demonstrations, as well as a panel on healthy foods and initiatives.

Film begins at 7 p.m. at the Wolfson Campus Auditorium in Building 1 of Miami-Dade College. Visit weightofthenation.hbo.com.

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