In consultation with the NIH and other major health and research organizations, HBO Documentary Films has produced a series of films and an associated education campaign about America's struggle with obesity. Called the WEIGHT OF THE NATION®, the project includes four main documentary films, a three-part HBO Family series for children, 12 short films, a social media campaign, and a nationwide community-based campaign to mobilize action to move the country to a healthier weight.
The four main films will premiere on May 14 and 15. They will also be available for free on HBO.com and through some cable carriers. Segments of the series are being screened at events around the country, including at the NIH on May 8.
Twenty-five NIH grantees, contractors, and staff members appear in the films, including several grantees funded by the NHLBI. NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., is also featured in each of the four main documentary films and two of the short films (one on obesity research and the NIH, and one on genetics and obesity). In addition to dozens of experts, the series profiles individuals, families, and communities who are struggling with—and overcoming—weight issues. The films also feature several clinical study participants, which we hope will help viewers see how ordinary people can make extraordinary contributions to science and ultimately to public health.
The first film of the series, "Consequences," highlights the Bogalusa Heart Study, a landmark clinical study initially funded by the NHLBI that showed the early signs and natural progression of heart disease and obesity from childhood to adulthood. Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an investigator with the NHLBI's Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, discusses the impact of obesity on the heart and cardiovascular system. He is also featured in a bonus short film on heart disease and obesity, which highlights the CARDIA study. Both the Bogalusa Heart and CARDIA studies contributed significantly to the scientific evidence on the impact of being overweight or obese on cardiovascular health and factors associated with their development.
As one of three institutes leading the NIH Obesity Research Task Force, the NHLBI provided input and scientific guidance on the films and campaign materials over the past two and a half years. Many thanks especially to staff members Susan Dambrauskas and Cay Loria for their tireless efforts. Thanks also to Karen Donato, Liz Freedman, Morgan Jones, Melinda Kelley, Greg Lavine, Melissa McGowan, and Kathryn McMurry for their contributions.
I encourage you to watch the films to learn more about these studies and about the nationwide issues of overweight and obesity. Consider holding a screening event with a local group. Discussion guides in English and Spanish are available along with screening kits for health centers and community groups to show the films and jumpstart conversations on obesity. I hope the series stimulates further conversation here at the NHLBI as well.
For more information:
The Weight of the Nation is produced by HBO and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and in partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser Permanente. ©2012 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and related channels and service marks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.
WEIGHT OF THE NATION® is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is used with permission. Use of this trademark is not an endorsement by HHS, CDC, or NIH of a particular company or organization.