Fat is a thing you can’t hide. Everyone who has ever struggled with a weight problem knows this. There is tremendous frustration with diets that don’t work and a painful stigma to being fat in a society that worships “thin.” Is it genes? Is it metabolism? Is it stress, evolution, or the lack of willpower? Why can’t the brain control hunger? What drives us to keep eating when we know we’re full? As the number of seriously overweight Americans climbs to frightening levels, the quest for answers is becoming even more urgent. Obesity experts have a growing — and sobering — awareness of the complex human puzzle that is driving this epidemic and creating so much personal anguish.
FAT: What No One Is Telling You, gives viewers a window into the intense human dramas that rage inside people who are overweight and explains why their weight problems are so hard to solve. Even the most disciplined effort is beyond the abilities of many people — not because of weakness, but because of the complex mix of environmental factors and biology that make it a lot easier to gain weight than to lose it. “Blaming the victim has kept us from seeking fundamental solutions to this epidemic,” says broadcast journalist Vieira.
“Being fat is not a moral crime and not just a matter of personal responsibility,” explains executive producer Naomi Boak. At 5-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Boak has waged a personal war on fat since childhood. “I couldn’t have made this film without the intimate experience of growing up fat,” she says.
Like that landmark special, the last thirty minutes of this two-hour evening event on PBS is devoted to practical advice. Immediately following FAT at 10:30 p.m. (ET), Take One Step for Your Family’s Health is hosted by Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC News chief medical editor, who brings together pioneering medical researchers as well as community activists and public health leaders to explore what needs to be done on the personal level, the family level, the community level, and the public policy level to help kids avoid the lifelong health trap that is obesity.