"Weight of the Nation" promises to be a chance to use serious television to tell the complex story of obesity in the United States. Based on some early reviews, "Weight of the Nation" focuses more on telling us that we're fat, and not what we can do about it.
-- HBO, where commercial sponsors won't interfere in the message, unlike Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.
-- 4-part series, to show we can't solve this neatly in a 1-hour take.
-- Colbert bump, as Stephen Colbert interviewed Dr. Francis Collins from the documentary.
-- Limited accessibility. Yes, it's on HBO, but a small slice of people within the cable world get HBO.
-- Fear that they're using fear to state the obvious: we're fat.
Collins presented a good face for what we hope to see in the documentary. He told Colbert about his own personal 30 pounds loss, showing him a prop of 5 lbs. of fat. Collins said this struggle had to be about the individual, family, community, and the food industry. He also noted that we had to stop with the finger waving approach.
The problem in the past is we're told that we're fat, but afraid to tell us why. Knowing why would help us become less fat.
High-fructose corn syrup has been a contributor. But its co-conspirators make up a long list, ranging from multiple sources of sweet to farm policy to reduced recess in schools to depressed wages. Our cynicism about "Weight of the Nation" stems from a society that protects those partially responsible for the mess we have on our hands.
See the trailer, read the bad reviews, and if you have HBO, judge for yourself. If we find out more about the documentary, we'll pass it on through the Twitter feed and here at the blog.