If you happened to catch a glimpse of HBO's new four-part documentary “The Weight of the Nation” on Monday and Tuesday night this week, you may have heard a report citing the Women’s Sports Foundation. The documentary, aimed at analyzing the growing obesity problem in America in the last few decades, highlighted negative statistics about the health of our country. The program forewarned that a national crisis may undoubtedly occur if health care costs continue to rise at the same rate as current body mass indexes.
“According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, [in] the last 35 years the physical education system for children has crumpled. P.E. is no longer mandatory in most states. Many parents are afraid to send kids out for unsupervised play, so [instead] they end up staring at TV and computer screens,” Katie Couric said in a clip used in the documentary’s “Part 3: Children in Crisis."
This clip came at a pivotal moment in the documentary: parts 1 and 2 showed the debilitating effects of bad diet choices on health, and the lack of active opportunities for children depicted in part 3, compounds this bad nutrition which results in an unhealthy next generation.
These two factors—poor nutrition and lack of exercise—currently affect youth and result in the sad truth that, according to the CDC, one in three Americans born in 2000 will develop diabetes at some point in their life. Though the process of passing legislation through numerous school boards takes time and debate, this gives programs such as GoGirlGo! even more importance. If young girls cannot look to their school for opportunities to get active, they then look at their communities. Funding from GoGirlGo! has provided more than 5.6 million dollars worth of financial backing for communal programs that get girls active. This monetary support has resulted in transformation of previously sedentary girls and ultimately helps combats the obesity problem that plagues our nation today.
Watch all four parts of Weight of the Nation here.
For the WSF-specific research above, see Part 3, Chapter 5.