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The Weight of the Nation: Surprising Lessons About Diets, Food, and Fat from the Extraordinary Series from HBO Documentary Films Hardcover – April 24, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

''An ambitious multiplatform project that takes the full measure of our girth, its genesis, and its toll.'' --New York Times

''Startlingly clear . . . Conveys the complex causes and effects of obesity in a way that, no matter how much you think you know, will still shock you.'' --Cleveland Plain Dealer --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

From the Back Cover

America’s ever-expanding waistline: We see it, we hear about it, and we worry about it! But can anything be done about it? 

 

We know all the usual suspects: red meat, dairy, white flour, refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, a lack of exercise, too much television, and the list goes on, and on, and on….

 

It seems simple! Right?...Not really. There’s a lot more going on below the surface when it comes to what America is eating for dinner (and breakfast and lunch and in between).

 

The Weight of the Nation digs deep to uncover what’s going on in our minds, in our stomachs, in corporate America, on our farms, and in society’s overall love of food.

 

The solution to America's obesity epidemic will not come from quick-fix diets or a new national obsession with working out. 

 

The answer will only come from learning more about how our bodies conserve energy, why we seek out and consume certain foods, and how our world compels us to eat  a lot more and move a lot less--than we should! 

 

The Weight of the Nation provides you with all the tools you need—and gives you the power to better understand your relationships with food and physical activity--so you can change the way you eat and move for the rest of your life.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250014735
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250014733
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #687,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I hope it changes your life and the life of your loved ones for the better.
MS FACS teacher
This book, based on the HBO series which has not yet aired, begins by presenting a wealth of scientific information about obesity.
Carol Cheney
For the authors' "blame everybody but the person who actually ATE the food" slant, I give it 2 stars.
Sharon G Perkins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kelly R on May 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you're thinking about reading this book for a new diet, I suggest you click the back button and look elsewhere. If you're looking to make a lifelong change in your eating and active living, continue on. "The Weight of the Nation" takes a look at our growing obesity epidemic, laying out the facts, and goes into great detail on what's wrong and why we need to change. It gives you the honest truth: losing weight is hard, and maintaining weight loss is even harder. Among the detailed explanations of how far we have come from natural foods and the external forces working against us in our fight to lose weight are success stories and tidbits of information of little changes that can make big differences in our lives. The book closes with some tips for healthy eating and active living, being healthy throughout pregnancy, and the benefits and risks of bariatric surgery. As a companion book to the upcoming HBO documentary series of the same name, this easy read is well worth your time if you are interested in making a healthy change in your life, your community, and even at the national level.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Grace on April 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is a companion to the new HBO series which will debut in May. I found it easy to read but with a wealth of information, and worth reading.
Culturally, we have gotten so far from the concept of what food is and what it does for us, which is nourish our bodies and feed our souls. It's almost like we are of two minds in the same head: on one hand we revere celebrity chefs and foodies, but on the other we succumb to the easy way of preparing foods which is to say we don't. And the result is that many of us are overweight and under-nourished. This book helps make sense of those contradictions through research and case studies, and give us some accessible solutions, even though there are not quick fixes.
It's a book about eating in America, not about diets or dieting, and it makes sense.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Carol Cheney on April 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book, based on the HBO series which has not yet aired, begins by
presenting a wealth of scientific information about obesity. This
ranges from reviewing the sobering extent of the problem to reviewing
the results of the metabolic research that explains just why it is so
hard for persons who have become obese to achieve and maintain a
healthy weight. Woven through all of this are impressive personal
stories of challenges and successes along with a final section that
spells out the "non-diet" approach that is required to be successful
in losing weight and maintaining that weight loss.
The authors have brought together a large body of information and
presented it in a very accessible fashion.
Carol Cheney MD
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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Sharon G Perkins on April 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Admittedly, I have not seen the HBO film from which this book was written. But I subscribe to the idea that "the book is better than the movie". Basically, The book has a lot of good information in it regarding the dire condition of the health and weight of the American population and how we arrived here. What I thought it was very weak on was personal accountability. For example, the authors were quick to place blame on the resturaunt industry (but not on the individuals who are too lazy or busy to make time to prepare meals), on the television (but not on the couch potatoes who lie around watching, or the parents who use it as a babysitter), on the supermarkets and advertising (but not on the individual who, again, fails to educate him or herself on how to read an ingredient list or nutrition label), and --my personal favorite-- the schools for failing to feed our children nutritious food (rather than the parents who fail to make sure their kids are eating well). This is a direct quote from page 128: "They [the schools] are responsible for my child when he is there. And so they're responsible that they're giving him real food...They'll find a way to get fresh food to our kids because that's their job." HUH??
I thought the job of the schools was to educate. Here's a thought: YOU pack their lunch! Honestly, is no one responsible for his own actions anymore?

The book does offer some suggestions of small changes that a person can do over time that will have a positive impact on their health and most of these are good --increase your activity, scale back on portions, cook more, eat out less, get a support system--all very good advice. However, they also say, no matter what you do, you'll likely gain all the weight back anyway.
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Format: Hardcover
Guess what? America is fat. I'm sure that a part of you already knows this just by walking down the street, shopping at your local stores and malls, going to movie theaters, and just living in the USA. I don't say this to sound insensitive or mean about it, but the fact is that if the current trend of weight gain in the USA continues, experts predict that by 2018, 75 percent of Americans will be overweight or obese. This prediction should scare you, and if it doesn't, maybe you should see HBO's documentary series, The Weight of the Nation.

Debuting on HBO Monday, May 14 in two parts and concluding on May 15 in a final two parts, The Weight of the Nation is a both an important documentary and a major health initiative. The documentary series is driven by HBO, the National Institute of Health, Centers for Disease Control and funded in part by Kaiser Permanente. In conjunction with the series (which HBO will also play for free on their website after it premieres on their station for all to see), the doctors and experts behind the series have released a companion book.

Written by John Hoffman, Dr. Judith A. Salerno, and Alexandra Moss, The Weight of the Nation is a short book, 172 pages (203 pages with the afterword), but despite its brevity, it's filled with very interesting and informative facts. It's not another run-of-the-mill diet book; rather, 125 of its pages are dedicated to the scientific understanding of how our bodies process food, as well as the forces of nature, government, and industry that fight against our health. While this heavy concentration on science, nature, government, and industry isn't a direct fault and is in fact very useful in attaining a general understanding of the problems, it takes a very long time to get to solutions.
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