North Bay premiere of 'Weight of the Nation' to explore broad community action

Public health officials across the country have recently stepped up efforts to address obesity, perhaps the nation's biggest health issue at the moment given the obvious health risks and the sheer costs associated with treating the condition.[poll id="21"]

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In a coordinated effort across the public and private sectors, the Business Journal is teaming up with Kaiser Permenante for a June 27 public screening of and discussion on “The Weight of the Nation,” a documentary that highlights the pervasiveness of the condition.

The key motivation behind the event, according to organizers, is to tap the resources of local businesses and public and private community leaders to promote awareness and encourage engagement in  addressing to obesity.

About 36 percent of all Americans and 17 percent of children are considered obese. Obesity in Sonoma County accounts for more than $436 million in lost productivity and health care costs, according to the California Center for Public Health Advocacy. Nearly $115 million is spent in the county on health care related to excessive patient weight, and about $85 million worth of lost productivity is attributable to obesity.How should businesses battle obesity?

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Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control puts obesity-related health care costs at $147 billion. On average, an obese person costs $1,400 more per year because of health issues, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Kaiser recently joined forces with the CDC and HBO to produce the documentary. The Institute of Medicine, National Institutes of Health and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation also are working on the project.

The Business Journal and Kaiser Permanente will present select scenes of the movie on Wednesday, June 27, and will also hold a panel discussion with local health experts on how the business community can help confront obesity. The event will be held at the Sheraton in Petaluma from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. 

Guest panelists include Preston Maring, M.D., medical director of Referral Services for Kaiser Permanente's East Bay Medical Center; Larry Meredith, Ph.D., director of Marin County's Department of Health and Human Services; and Peter Rumble, director of Sonoma County's Health, Policy, Planning and Evaluation Department.

Registration (online form) for the event closes Wednesday, June 20.


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