Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How Fat Are We? Obesity In America

Why America Is Overweight And How To Fix It

Just how overweight are Americans? And how did we get to an epidemic of obesity in just 30 years? Less than eight percent of schools require physical education classes, although one hour of daily exercise is recommended for children.

50% of American farmland is Federal government subsidized planting in corn and soybeans, to produce low cost feed for cattle and chickens, cheap oils and high fructose corn syrup. Restaurants now provide serving sizes twice as large as required for nutrition while loaded with excess salt, sugar, and calories, in part due to the subsidies provided to grain and sugar producers.

Sugary drinks, including fruit juices and energy drinks, and calorie laden sugary snacks are the leading providers of excess calories in the American diet. Consumer consumption has increased dramatically over the last 30 years, encouraged by the low costs of these food compared to fresh fruits and vegetables, the foods we should be eating more of say health experts.

(Video: From the documentary series, part 4, a good overview of why America is overweight and what to do about it)

The online 4-part documentary series "The Weight of the Nation," is a presentation of HBO and the Institute of Medicine, in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, and in partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser Permanente is now available for viewing online without cost.

Each episode of the four-part documentary series, features case studies, interviews with our nation’s leading experts, and individuals and their families struggling with obesity.

The first film, "Consequences," examines the scope of the obesity epidemic and explores the serious health consequences of being overweight or obese. The second, "Choices," offers viewers the skinny on fat, revealing what science has shown about how to lose weight, maintain weight loss and prevent weight gain.

The third, "Children In Crisis," documents the damage obesity is doing to our nation’s children. Through individual stories, this film describes how the strong forces at work in our society are causing children to consume too many calories and expend too little energy; tackling subjects from school lunches to the decline of physical education, the demise of school recess and the marketing of unhealthy food to children.

The fourth film, "Challenges," examines the major driving forces causing the obesity epidemic, including 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.

Our favorites in the series, for those who don't have time to watch all four, are the second and fourth episodes, "Choices" and "Challenges." "Challeges" gives a unique look at how society, food manufacturers, and farming in the U.S. is designed to get us to eat more food than we need, relying on two primary crops, corn and soybeans.

"Choices" show how each of us can do our part learning how to eat more healthy foods, and exercise more. Each episode in the series is about 1 hour long. Click on the links above to see the episodes online.

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