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photo The Weight of Obesity
...a balanced reality
By Mickey Freeman

Obesity is second only to smoking as the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. Minority and low-income communities have been the hardest hit. Ironically, in the midst of this epidemic, American families are chronically undernourished. This documentary takes an accessible, non-clinical approach that communicates the serious consequences of obesity, while also offering strategies for change. It explores several aspects of the crisis:

Self-esteem: 18-year-old Lizzie, seriously overweight, says "I think about my weight every day." She complains that her mother constantly reinforces the negative messages of the media, to which her mother replies "I think I gave her the same kind of messages that my mother gave me."

Nutrition & Exercise: Joanna is 17 and comes from a family of obese overeaters. She says she's never gotten good information about eating habits in school or from the media, and she's angry that her mother never put limits on her eating. Though she says she hates exercise, she's found that she enjoys playing softball, and has even gotten her mom and sister involved.

Television: At 40 years old and 400 pounds, Jay has been told that he could die in a few years if he doesn't get his weight under control. Jay's whole family are overweight and over-stressed; they also have a TV in every room — but found that when they turned off the televisions for a few months, Jay's son's reading scores jumped by two grade levels.

The Family Meal: Pressured by fast paced jobs and the need for two wage-earners to raise a family, parents spend less and less time with their children, who may in turn feel isolated and depressed — and come to depend on food to make up for it. One of the first casualties of our economy's pressures on families is the nurturing connection provided by the traditional family meal.

57 minutes
© 2005
Purchase $248.00 DVD
Order No. QA-432
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-816-2
close captioned

"Explores the complex problem of child obesity with authenticity and sensitivity. Viewers will connect with every child and family interviewed, while learning approaches that can turn the tide." Judith Levine, RD, MS, Nutritionist and Author

"Should be required viewing for every doctor, nurse and dietitian. Health professionals need to understand the difficulties families face as they try to adopt healthier lifestyles." Joanne P. Ikeda, MA, RD, University of California

"Conveys the prejudice that fat adolescents and children face from themselves as well as from families and the public who fear and despise fatness and blame fat people as simply self indulgent. It documents the very real obstacles in obtaining access to, and even knowledge about, healthy, low-calorie meals in a world of fast food and busy schedules, made more difficult by low income." Margaret Mackenzie, PhD, RN, California College of the Arts

"The Weight of Obesity...a balanced reality looks at the complex issues behind the obesity epidemic in America, which is rapidly becoming our number one public health problem. It is insightful and important." Dr. Andrew Weil, best-selling author and Director of the Program in Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson

Awards & Conference Screenings
National Social Science Association Conference
Finalist, International Health & Medical Media Competition

Related Films
The Family Meal: Obesity is second only to smoking as the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. This documentary suggests that one cause of today's obesity crisis is the decline of the family meal.

Shredded: This provocative documentary explores the damaging lengths to which teenage boys may go to achieve the muscular, "shredded," look of action-movie stars and comic book superheroes. "If this screws me up, it screws me up," says one. "I want to get big quick."

Inside Out: Bulimia can affect women and men from all walks of life, and it kills nearly 20 percent of its victims every year. This moving documentary profiles individuals and families affected by this eating disorder.

Shadows and Lies: This powerful and honest documentary profiles four women who are working themselves free from the deadly grip of eating disorders, and from the overwhelming physical and psychological complications associated with these deadly diseases.


Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website