Many of you will be interested in a film series that highlights the work of a recent initiative that I blogged about last week – Obesity Prevention: How NOT to Solve the Weight of Our Nation – titled The Weight of the Nation. As you review the films and written material I urge you to be mindful as to what role leaders of communities of faith play in addressing this issue.
The following is a brief summary taken from the HBO website:
Bringing together the nation’s leading research institutions, THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION is a presentation of 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.
The centerpiece of THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION campaign is the four-part documentary series, each featuring case studies, interviews with our nation’s leading experts, and individuals and their families struggling with obesity.
The first film, CONSEQUENCES, examines the scope of the obesity epidemic and explores the serious health consequences of being overweight or obese.
The second, CHOICES, offers viewers the skinny on fat, revealing what science has shown about how to lose weight, maintain weight loss and prevent weight gain.
The third, CHILDREN IN CRISIS, documents the damage obesity is doing to our nation’s children. Through individual stories, this film describes how the strong forces at work in our society are causing children to consume too many calories and expend too little energy; tackling subjects from school lunches to the decline of physical education, the demise of school recess and the marketing of unhealthy food to children.
The fourth film, CHALLENGES, examines the major driving forces causing the obesity epidemic, including agriculture, economics, evolutionary biology, food marketing, racial and socioeconomic disparities, physical inactivity, American food culture, and the strong influence of the food and beverage industry.
The Role of Faith and the Care of the Spirit
My belief is that the leadership of churches have a great opportunity to make a difference in our battle against obesity. No major national effort to reduce the prevalence of obesity addresses the care of the spirit or soul of a person. The major focus of recent strategies is on external issues such as policy and environment. These areas are of value because they do contribute to making it easier for a person to make healthy choices however, ultimately, the ability and desire to change behavior comes from within, and within each of us we are a spirit.
We must include the care of the spirit in our strategies to attend to reducing the weight of our nation.