Weight of the Nation

Weight of the Nation

The Weight of the Nation™ and The Weight of the Nation for Kids are HBO Documentary Film series designed to confront America’s obesity epidemic and empower communities to take action. HBO Documentary Films and the Institute of Medicine partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser Permanente to create this dynamic film series.

Kaiser Permanente engaged Community Initiatives (CI) to develop strategies and tools to:
• Engage community stakeholders
• Mobilize communities toward action
• Coordinate community involvement and
• Connect community learning to action resources

As a result, CI and Community Commons partnered to create a platform to centralize the WOTN films, collateral and community resources, as well as, host a conversation and connect community change makers using WOTN to spur action.

In addition, CI developed a series of tools including a Quickstart Guide for the adult and kids film series, a Planning Guide for community screening events, facilitator tips for community organizers and outlined a process for engagement that supported communities move from screening to action.

In Hamilton County, Ohio on May 9, 2012 more than 100 people attended the WeTHRIVE! premiere of HBO’s Weight of the Nation—Children in Crisis. The screening was held at the 20th Century Theater and was followed by a dialogue among community participants and leaders who shared their reactions to the film and had the opportunity to discuss local impacts. The film screening and community dialogue helped to grow the number of community members engaged in a variety of local initiatives to curb childhood obesity and generated several additional school and community screenings.

One participant shared, “It is disheartening to hear it said that one can pretty much tell what one’s BMI would be by the zip code in which one lives. It is going to take everyone’s involvement…educators, parents, community groups, elected officials, health professionals, etc., to effectively deal with the multi-factorial causes of childhood obesity.” –Cynthia Blocksom

Location scouting, panel member invites, press outreach and other event preparations were made easier through use of the sample agendas, planning and dialogue guides, as well as, facilitator tip sheets. Also, as Hamilton County got closer to their local premiere, they were able to get real time feedback from members of the Community Commons WOTN group, many of whom had hosted events in the week preceding. Examples of promotional materials and the ability to connect and ask questions about what worked (and what didn’t) from others across the country were noted as a key to success.


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