Monday, May 14, 2012

HBO's The Weight Of The Nation

If you've noticed talk of American obesity has been front page news on a regular basis lately, its for good reason: almost 69% of Americans are overweight or obese and that number continues to rise. Even more disturbing - 18% of children in the U.S. are obese and our kids life expectancy will be shorter than our own because of their diet and exercise habits. Why this is happening and how can we change it are just two questions answered in HBO's latest documentary, The Weight Of The Nation, premiering tonight on HBO

This documentary is the beginning of an unprecedented campaign to change the way Americans eat and the start of a movement to help millions of Americans begin working towards adopting a healthier diet. I'm particularly moved by this mission because my brother-in-law's father, Dr. Preston Maring, is one of the many experts who participated in the making of this documentary (he discusses the prevention of obesity and increasing fresh food markets in the film) and was responsible for starting the Friday Fresh Farmer's Market at Kasier Permanente in Oakland, a program that has spread to Kasier campuses all over the country.

Dr. Maring at a local farmer's market. Photo courtesy of HBO. 

 Growing up in a family with 3 kids and parents who both worked 12 hours a day, my dinner options usually consisted of McDonalds, Taco Bell or Carl's Jr. I have a great metabolism and daily dance classes starting at age 3 to thank, otherwise I might have been a poster child for obesity by my early teenage years. I've come a long way since then and so has my entire family, in large part thanks to my brother-in-law Ben. A culinary school graduate who worked for Thomas Keller (owner of French Laundry and Per Se) before graduating medical school (he's now in his residency), he brought a love of food and cooking to my family that has changed all of our lives for the better. I went from eating sodium laden, shelf-stable foods to DVR'ing food network shows and cooking with vegetables I previously wouldn't have recognized at the store. And thank goodness my "food transformation" happened several years before my daughter was born. She's now getting to be a whiz with the whisk and can name just about every fruit and veggie in the produce aisle.

Whether you, your children or someone you know is battling obesity or maybe just trying to get back to their fighting weight, this film will inspire you to make a positive change in your kitchen and in your life. Parts one and two premiere tonight, May 14th at 8:00 pm. and Parts three and four will air Tuesday, May 15th, at 8:00 p.m. It's television you won't want to miss.

**I can't talk about healthy eating, without mentioning my dear husband, who just concluded a nationwide campaign called Ben's Beginners, whose mission was to get kids in the kitchen to cook healthy meals with their families. The program and their partnership with Rachel Ray was a huge success and I'm so proud to see the positive changes his campaign inspired throughout the country.


Anonymous said...

I want to know about your husband's campaign. sounds so great and so needed. I wonder why more Food Network people don't advocate for better access to healthy food? Teri

tina said...

Great post Jennifer and really heart felt.

I applaud you for all the wonderful changes you made to your own diet, the diet of your nearest and dearest and in promoting healthy eating and fighting obesity.

I love that your daughter could name every veg and fruit... she'll thank you for it in the future.

I didn't get away with a good metabolism etc and unfortunately although on a health kick for the past 20 years have still got remnants from my early junk food eating and jojo dieting:)

Here is to helping people get onto a better health regime and tackling their obesity.

Well done hubby!!

Theresa / InspirationCOOP said...

This movement is definitely needed. Last Friday, Bill Maher touched upon this epidemic and the Today Show was talking about it just this morning. So your post is perfectly timed. Along with promoting healthy eating, a movement against our Fast Food Nation needs to take place, as well. When buying a 10 pack of tacos is less expensive than a head of broccoli (I exaggerate a little) something is definitely wrong with that scenario.
Congratulations to both your BIL and husband on promoting a more healthy path.

California Chic said...

@Teri - he manages Uncle Ben's Rice and the campaign centered around getting kids in the kitchen to cook. Kids submitted videos of themselves cooking with Uncle Ben's to make a healthy meal and then people voted via Facebook. The message reached over 5 million people via the different outlets, etc. I totally agree about the Food Network stars..I wonder if there are any kids cooking shows out there..hmmm.

@Tina - I'm hoping my daughter's eating habits are healthier than mine were for most of my life.

@T - glad to hear Mahr and Today show were talking about it too. The fast food epidemic is totally out of control - I think about it everytime I'm at Whole Foods spending crazy amounts of $ on organic produce. Hard to expect people to eat healthy foods when they can't afford them.

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