I have my opinion on the state of our nation as it relates to the correlation of the lack of physical activity and the rising obesity crisis. I also have my feelings relating to the struggles of overweight individuals who are extremely active. However, I am going to watch this special before discussing my thoughts.
Do you have any comments, thoughts, speculations before watching this special?
Here is an article from The New York Times.
Big Nation. Big People. It’s Clearly a Big Deal
By ALESSANDRA STANLEY
May 18, 2010
There are two Americas.
One is a ruling minority of the healthy few who rely on vegetable gardens, personal trainers and spa getaways to stay fit. The other is the majority of Americans, who are overweight or obese, many of whom risk their own form of assisted living — XXXL clothes, mobility scooters and diabetes treatments that can tip over $50,000 a year.
“One Nation, Overweight” is a CNBC documentary on Tuesday that provides a chilling portrait of a health epidemic that endangers all Americans — without being overly alarmist or too sanguine. And while that doesn’t sound like a big deal, this program stands out in a landscape cluttered with mixed messages and grossly distorted images of reality.
Television used to ignore obesity; now it wallows in it. But the effort to portray the problem — and the solutions — mirrors the way most Americans eat: the most basic facts are larded with sugary entertainment and creamy dollops of instant gratification.
Weight-loss reality shows like “The Biggest Loser” turn obesity into a contest, painting the solitary, often costly struggle against obesity as an exhilarating and financially rewarding team sport. Even do-good missions feed the appetite of viewers accustomed to supersize entertainment. The British chef Jamie Oliver tried to tame the eating habits of an entire town in West Virginia, called the fattest place in America, for his reality show, “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.” Not surprisingly, French fries won.
Meanwhile, series like “Drop Dead Diva” and “Glee,” which recently devoted an episode to a character’s battle with her weight, try to preach self-acceptance by showcasing plus-size heroines who learn to value their physiques. Mostly, they present an unrealistic image of a world populated by whippet-thin women, each of whom has one large friend.
“One Nation, Overweight” isn’t a treat, but it’s rich in salutary warnings. It begins at the Cleveland Clinic, one of the top destinations for growing numbers of patients — some weighing 500 and 600 pounds — who want to have their stomachs stapled. (There were 220,000 such procedures done in 2009, according to CNBC.) The corridors of the bariatric ward, filled with hugely fat people who can barely walk, provide the kind of flesh-and-blood look into the future that was the apocalyptic message of the animated movie “Wall-E.”
And that future may not be so far away. Kenneth E. Thorpe, a health economist at Emory University, discusses a study he published that warns that if current trends continue, the cost of treating weight-related illnesses will double to $344 billion a year by 2018.
The CNBC correspondent Scott Wapner interviews experts who describe obesity as a disease, but the obese people he speaks to rarely blame their size on genetic predisposition or other extenuating circumstances.
“I did to this myself,” says Henry Butler, 62, who was 330 pounds when he went to the Cleveland Clinic. “Who said I had to eat all that?”
School cafeterias are part of the problem, and CNBC visits a school in Virginia where snack carts sell sticky buns, candy bars and chips three times a day. The principal explains that the profits go to help after-school sports programs, a vicious — and viscous — cycle.
There are schools and workplaces that are trying to fight back, including the owner of a car dealership who pays for his overweight employees to join a $2,500 weight-loss program — he says it saves him tens of thousands of dollars in health costs. An inventor demonstrates his answer to a sedentary work force: a machine that allows an employee to work at a computer terminal while walking on a slow-moving treadmill.
Over all, CNBC provides a broad, sensible look at a problem that is not new, but is increasingly dire. There are a few journalistic lapses, however.
The film spends quite a bit of time on a promising weight-loss drug, Qnexa, that is awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration. It helps suppress appetite and has had better results than similar drugs in clinical trials, according to the documentary.
Mr. Wapner interviews Leland F. Wilson, the chief executive of Vivus, the maker of Qnexa, who is predictably bullish. So is the only research scientist shown on camera, Dr. Michelle Look, a sports medicine specialist who is a lead clinical trial investigator on Qnexa and a paid consultant to Vivus.
A deputy director of the F.D.A. is interviewed but doesn’t say much about Qnexa, except to explain that his agency is under pressure from advocacy groups to speed up approval of anti-obesity drugs.
Particularly because so many viewers are overweight and desperate for a medical breakthrough on obesity, CNBC should have also interviewed an independent scientist who could have added a grain of salt to Mr. Wapner’s boosterish report.
And credibility, once shaken, is hard to restore. Jim Trudeau, a small-business owner from Madison, Wis., who attended a weight-loss program at the Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge in Ivins, Utah, lost 200 pounds, but has another 200 or so to lose, since he started at 600. Mr. Trudeau is an articulate and sympathetic figure, but it’s hard not to wonder if he was picked for his personality, or because “The Biggest Loser” is on NBC, a sister network to CNBC.
“One Nation, Overweight” takes a serious look at a serious problem, and it would be better if it showed more discipline in curbing its own weaknesses.
On a lighter note...how about trying my dinner last night? It was the perfect ending to a recovery day which included a morning of core work w/ Karel + an easy 30 min swim while Karel stretched in the therapy pool.
1/4 cup cooked quinoa (I made 1 cup and added a dash of cinnamon, a giant clove of garlic and a dash of pepper and cumin after the quinoa was cooked)
1 hardboiled egg
A little Swiss cheese (shredded)
Strawberries (I bought 4 cartons yesterday...$1.39 at Wal-Mart!!!)
Seeds (sunflower and pumpkin mix)