Have you seen the HBO documentary Weight of the Nation that was aired this week? So far I’ve only watched the first episode. I watched it with my husband and kids (10 and 12) on Monday night. I decided that this was a good opportunity to have my kids see for themselves why I say no to the variety of fast foods and junk foods that they inevitably ask for.
I’ve also read some of the commentary about this documentary, much of it focused on its failings and omissions. While I understand where these commentators are coming from, I have to give praise where praise is due. Kids don’t want to listen to their parents, but they’ll listen to that talking head on the TV. While that’s not always a good thing, in this case I’ve found it very helpful. I can point to the TV and say, “See, that’s why Mom says no when you ask for a soda,” and they get it.
This morning when I was driving my son to school he said, “Mom, can we watch the 2nd part of that documentary tonight?”
“Of course, “ I replied, feeling rather pleased.
“I was going to say that we should eat pudding while we watched it, but that doesn’t really make sense, does it?” he continued. “I guess we’ll just skip dessert tonight.”
Say what you will about discrimination of overweight and obese people (a real problem) and the lack of conversation about food systems and policy change (which needs to increase), but in my small corner of the world, this documentary is starting a conversation and making a difference. And for that I am grateful.