UNCA to screen documentary, discuss weight epidemic on Jan. 15

Press release

From UNC Asheville

Wilma M. Sherrill Center, UNC Asheville, Tuesday January 15th, 2013- Community members are gathering Jan. 15 to watch, a segment from a four-part series called THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION, a powerful documentary series developed by HBO in conjunction with several of the nation’s leading research and health care organizations. The series is part of an effort to combat the rise in childhood obesity and is one of the most far-reaching public education campaigns regarding the obesity epidemic to date. The film is screening today at the Wilma M. Sherrill Center at UNC Asheville, with guest keynote speaker, Terry Bellamy. The idea is to spark conversation in the community about how to combat obesity at the local level. THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION multi-part series aired on HBO on May 14 and 15, 2012.

THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION was developed with the Institute of Medicine (IOM), in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), and in
partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser Permanente. At todayʼs screening, many of our communityʼs own organizations are attending the event and participating in the discussion

They include: Asheville Chamber of Commerce, Wellspring, Buncombe County Department of Health, Yes!, N.C. Center for Health and Wellness, the YMCA of WNC, United Way and the YWCA.

“Obesity is a national epidemic, but itʼs also a local issue. If we come together to recognize the problem, we can collectively work toward a solution for our community,” says Asheville YMCA Healthy Living Director, Virginia Maziarka.

In the U.S., 68 percent of adults age 20 and over are overweight or obese, while 31.7 percent of the nationʼs children and adolescents age two to 19 are overweight or obese.* Obesity contributes to five of
the ten leading causes of death in America, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and stroke.** Moreover, like many other public health problems, lower income communities and communities
of color are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic. In fact, nine of the 10 states with the highest obesity prevalence are also among the poorest.***

“To build a healthy nation, weʼre all going to have to do our part – individuals, communities, local, state and the federal government,” notes Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. “If the obesity rates continue to stay high, weʼre going to face steadily increasing health care costs, as well as more lives lost to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, many cancers and other complications from obesity.”

The four-part series includes: Consequences, Choices, Children in Crisis, and Challenges. Case studies and interviews with leading experts and with individuals and families struggling with obesity are featured to showcase how severe this epidemic has become. The films examine the scope of the obesity epidemic, give viewers the skinny on fat, explore the damage obesity is having on our nationʼs youth and examine the major forces behind the problem. The series is an in-depth look at how widespread this issue has become and the major impact it is having on our children. It drives home the point that we, as parents, educators and adults, cannot look away any longer and need to take action before it is too late.

The series also highlights several individuals, worksites, and communities that are making positive changes to prevent obesity and become healthier.

THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION comprises four documentary films, a three-part HBO Family series, 12 bonus short films, a social media campaign, a book published by St. Martinʼs Press and a nationwide community-based outreach campaign to support the initiative. “If we donʼt succeed in turning this epidemic around, we are going to face, for the first time in our history, a situation where our children are going to live shorter lives than we do,” says Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


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