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The Weight of the Nation

The Weight of the Nation

Lessons about diet and food form the series of HBO Documentary Films.

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The Weight of the Nation is a new book based on the extraordinary series from HBO Documentary Films. This book is written by John Hoffman and Dr. Judith A. Salerno. The Weight of the Nation examines how America’s ever-expanding waistline is something we are very aware of, and tells exactly what we can do to change it. This book shows that there are more things going on below the surface when it comes to American eating habits than just the usual suspects of red meat, dairy, white flour, refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. This book talks about factors like what’s going on in our minds, our stomachs, in corporate America and on our farms. The only way to solve America’s obesity epidemic is to learn more about our bodies and why we behave a certain way toward food. The Weight of the Nation will give you the tools you need to understand your relationship with food and physical activity so that you can make lifestyle changes that will truly make a difference in your health.

Author John Hoffman is the executive producer of HBO’s The Weight of the Nation. Dr. Judith Salerno is the Leonard D. Schaeffer Executive Office of the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences and a nationally recognized leader in health policy. HBO and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science joined together to bring you the nation’s foremost experts and definitive research on weight and weight loss. The Weight of the Nation explains in detail how we got to this point and answers some critical questions concerning weight loss. This book gives it to you straight. It tells you that losing weight is hard and keeping it off is even harder. Weight loss takes a lot of work and a lifetime of commitment, but you can do it.

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  • Includes research from the nation’s experts
  • Shows you how to lose weight in a healthy way and keep it off
  • Points out that there is no quick fix to weight loss
  • Will help you overcome the forces that drive towards overeating
  • Shows how little changes can make a big difference
  • None to speak of

The Weight of the Nation starts at the root of the problem which is our nation’s quickly rising obesity statistics. It is outlined as the sum total of all our little daily decisions that result in us eating too much and moving too little. The obesity problem has been magnified by the actions of industry, agriculture and government often making it harder for us to make healthy choices. The Weight of the Nation also discusses how the rising number of obese people in our country is contributing to health problems like heart disease, diabetes, fatty liver, cancer as well as other aches and pains. By simply losing 10 percent of your total body weight, you can see numerous health benefits. Some of those benefits include lower blood pressure, improved blood sugar levels and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. For those with aching joints, every 10 pounds lost removes an average of 40 pounds of pressure on your hips, knees and ankles and can significantly cut the risk of developing osteoarthritis. Some of the best news offered in the book is that you don’t have to completely abandon all the foods you love, become a vegan or work out for six hours each day to become healthy. Obesity can be reversed and although it takes hard work, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Fast food is examined as one of the culprits that contribute to the obesity of our nation. Many of the menu items you find at fast food restaurants are loaded with sugar, fat and salt. You don’t have to swear off fast food completely, just eliminate its supersized combos and value meals. These are traps for your body and mind. Always order the smallest sizes available or from the kids menu. Restaurants are also a culprit to watch for due to their large portions and even larger calorie and fat counts. Beware of options that are labeled healthy on restaurant menus, as some options like turkey burgers and fish tacos pack more calories and fat than a meal of a burger and fries. To combat some of the restaurant pitfalls, ask about calorie counts of so-called healthy items or research the information before going so you can plan what you’re going to order. Also ask for dressing on the side with salads, hold the mayo and cheese on dishes or remove half of the bun when you order that turkey burger.

When examining nutrition labels, The Weight of the Nation talks about the high processing of so many of the foods we eat. Highly processed items have a higher profit margin than natural foods and produce, which is why there are so many items available with artificial ingredients. The book points out that overconsumption of these ingredients are what cause weight gain, and not the actual ingredients. The advice given for big results in your health where processed food is concerned is to avoid any processed food with more than five ingredients or that contain any ingredient whose name you can’t pronounce. If you want to have the healthiest options possible, buy foods that don’t even have nutrition labels on them like broccoli, apples, spinach, bananas and other produce.

When you get into the actual plan of how to lose weight and keep it off one of the first things you must do is stop dieting as we know it. Do not scrap entire food groups, hold blind hope that a fad diet is going to work, or cut calories so low that you are practically starving. The book does not give a specific diet or eating plan, but offers knowledge in helping you determine the types of foods you should eat for a healthier body. The focus is on losing between seven and 10 percent of your total body weight to reduce your risk of certain health issues. For those that may want to lose 20 or 30 percent, the benefits obviously increase. Some of the suggestions for building lasting weight loss are listed below:

  • Get your support system in place
  • Join a support group-based weight loss program
  • Take account of what you’re eating and how much you’re moving
  • Set manageable, achievable goals
  • Never eat directly from the box or packaging container
  • Eat dinner with your family at the dinner table with no TV or devices as distractions
  • If you must eat at a restaurant, share an entrée with someone else

While The Weight of the Nation does encourage moving more to aid in losing seven to 10 percent of your total body weight, it is important to know that you can’t devote your entire day to exercise, and you don’t need to. Exercise does help prevent heart disease, reverse diabetes and improve many other health conditions, but you should not rely on it alone to lose weight. Exercise is a great tool for helping you lose weight, along with a healthy diet. Exercise can be very instrumental in helping you keep the weight off after you’ve reached your goals as well. Some of the important behaviors exhibited by those how have lost weight and kept it off show that many of them exercise about one hour per day on average. For those getting started, this is a point you would eventually want to reach. You can start with 30 minutes per day of walking or other exercise of your choice. If you can’t find 30 consecutive minutes, The Weight of the Nation suggests breaking up your workout into manageable chunks that fit your schedule.


The Weight of the Nation has a goal of empowering people with the knowledge needed to make healthy changes and lose seven to 10 percent of their total body weight for health benefits. This book doesn’t recommend a certain diet or exercise program which gives you total control of finding a program that is safe and effective. The Weight of the Nation leaves you armed with the information needed to reach a healthy point for yourself and your family. The information is easy to understand and can make a huge difference in the state of obesity for all of America.

Common MisspellingsCommon Misspellings

the wait of the nation, the weight of America, the weight of a nation, the weight of the nations

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