THE BLOG
05/20/2010 02:31 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

One Nation Overweight

The T.V. show One Nation Overweight, recently debuted on CNBC. It gave an overview of the frightening consequences to the health and psychological well-being of our country if we don't start addressing the problem of obesity. It's a health problem impacting men, women, adults and teens. And it is projected to cripple our health care budget in the next ten years. A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine indicated that this is the first generation that may have a shorter lifespan than their parents--in part due to obesity related factors. How much do you think you know about obesity? Take this quiz to find out.

There was some debate about who is to "blame" for this problem. People interviewed in this program tended to point the finger toward themselves--"no one made me overeat." But many researchers agree, such as Dr. David Ludwig, that it is much more complex than simply making good choices. There are corporate (advertising, new unhealthy products), personal (our own choices) and political factors that significantly impact this problem. Corporations are notorious for advertising unhealthy products during kids TV programming. One in three schools serves food from a popular fast food chain. Our environment probably doesn't help either.

The program looked at the different methods currently being attempted to solve this epidemic -- from bariatric surgery, new weight loss drugs, effective lifestyle change programs, changing school lunches and mobile work stations to engaging business owners to provide incentives for weight loss. The bottom line: America's weight problem is incredibly complex and the solution is equally multifaceted.

Employers watching the program may have been motivated to start thinking of creative ways to help their employees manage their health. Not only are healthier employees happier and more productive, but employee happiness saves on health care costs. Obesity-related work days lost on average a total of 34 million days and led to 63 million doctor visits. For a car dealer in Ohio, spending 2,500 dollars on a Lifestyle change program for his employees led to significant reductions in overall health care costs. Prevention programs, helping people with positive lifestyle changes and providing solid education are just a few steps forward in helping the economy and individuals change for the better.

If you missed this program, it's worth your while to check out the information on CNBC. Prepare yourself for the stark reality of the statistics. While the website may have some good information, don't fail to take note the link to "Top Ten Best Performing Weight Loss Stocks." It's ironic that as some people are worried about the financial burden on the economy, others are attempting to capitalize financially on the obesity crisis.

Let's continue to brainstorm ways to help yourself, or someone you know, begin prioritizing and taking care of their health.

Dr. Susan Albers, psychologist and author of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food, Eating Mindfully, Mindful Eating 101 and Eat, Drink & Be Mindful. www.eatingmindfully.com