Here's a slightly modified version of what I just posted to Facebook:
Went to a showing of Part 4 of the "Weight of the Nation" (Obesity Epidemic Panic Oh My) documentary, followed by discussion, last night. It wasn't as bad as I expected, but I did write down at least 6 pieces of misleading to downright factually incorrect information, plus more subtle un-truths through graphics. And our tax money paid for this crap. I did like the discussion of food politics (farm subsidies, food marketing & advertisment, etc.) and the focus on shaping cities to be more friendly toward exercise.
Factually incorrect: The next generation of children will have shorter lives than us because of obesity. UNTRUE. We've been living longer and longer as we get fatter, and the next generation of children is projected to have a longer lifespan.
Factually incorrect: The people shown in the opening credits are typical of the average overweight or obese American. FALSE. The people pictured and quoted at the opening of each episode are well in excess of 35 BMI, some well over 50 BMI. Those people comprise 8 percent or less of all overweight or obese Americans. Most "overweight" Americans would have been in the normal range before the government changed the definition of "overweight" in 1998 from a cut-off of 27 to a cut-off of 25.
Factually incorrect: The number of calories consumed per person has skyrocked by hundreds from the 1960s to the present. FALSE. The numbers often cited by the anti-obesity crusaders refers NOT to calories consumed but calories PRODUCED and they rarely make it clear that many of the food calories produced are a) fed to livestock or b) diverted to industrial use (i.e. soybeans) and not consumed.
Factually incorrect: Most overweight and fat people are that way because they're out of control with food. FALSE. Many studies have shown that we have a set range of weight, and it's hard to eat ourselves much fatter or starve oursevles much thinner because our body clings to that set point/set range. Google "Ancel Keys" and do some reading.
Factually incorrect: Commentator points to all the fast food joints on a block and says "You could eat your way to obesity just on this block." FALSE. You cannot eat your way to obesity. Even the NIH's own info suggests that our genes account for anywere from 60 to 80 percent of the variation in body sizes and shapes.
Also, folks from the Association for Size Diversity and Health contacted the documentary makers, asking to include some information about "Health at Every Size" and were rebuffed. That's too bad, because an HAES approach has been showed to be effective in dealing with metabolic disorders regardless of how much weight is loss (even if it's none).