HBO's 'Weight of the Nation': A New Solution to an Old Problem?

"Weight of the Nation" documentary debuts tonight on HBO.

ByABC News
May 14, 2012, 9:05 AM

May 14, 2012— -- Obesity. We know the word. We know more than a third of Americans are obese. We know that the United States is facing an epidemic. We know more energy out than calories in is key to losing weight.

We know.

So, why after almost 30 years of Americans' weight ticking up the scale has it suddenly called for a national campaign to change?

Today, HBO is premiering its four-part series called "Weight of the Nation." A collaborative effort with the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Institute of Medicine, the series focuses on different issues surrounding the epidemic: consequences, choices, children in crisis and challenges.

John Hoffman, vice president of HBO Documentary Films and the executive producer of "The Weight of the Nation," told National Public Radio the documentary is "not a piece of journalism" but instead "a piece of public health."

"We really are informing people about all the issues that pertain to the health and future of this country," Hoffman said on NPR's "Science Friday" last week. "So much as sending up as many flares as possible and really igniting a conversation. It's going to take a long time to turn this around."

Interesting facts from the documentary:

• One out of 5 of kids drink three or more sugar-sweeted beverages per day, accounting for an extra meal.

• Less than 1 percent of Americas meet the criteria for ideal cardiovascular health.

• One in 4 adults get no physical activity.

• Obesity costs American businesses $70 billion in lost productivity.

• Profit margin for soft drinks is 90 percent. Profit margin for produce is 10 percent.