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Obesity America's Number One Health Problem
Obesity America's Number One Health Problem
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There is an obesity plague in America that costs the nation as much as $147 billion -- and an untold number of lives -- every year. Nearly two-thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese. Childhood obesity is triple what it was a generation ago. Together, they add up to a public health crisis that feeds a $60 billion industry of products, services, diets and foods designed to help people lose weight.

CNBC correspondent Scott Wapner reports on the war on fat, with intimate profiles of Americans struggling to overcome obesity, some of whom have resorted to surgery. He takes viewers behind the scenes of a pharmaceutical company developing a cutting-edge drug that could be a medical and financial blockbuster, and goes inside a weight loss boot camp called The Biggest Loser Resort – an enterprise that is helping some lose pounds, and others make money.

The obesity crisis has placed a crushing burden on the nation's healthcare system and has even convinced some in the medical community that the current generation of American children may be the first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. In this CNBC original documentary, you'll see the real cost of obesity, and find out who's profiting from it, too. 
The numbers are devastating: $147 billion a year in costs. Well over 200 million Americans in danger. The single biggest health problem in America today. Obesity has become nothing short of a public health crisis. CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, takes viewers inside the war on fat, where the waistline meets the bottom line in this look at a problem that affects most American people and every American pocketbook.

CNBC presents "One Nation, Overweight," a CNBC Original reported by Scott Wapner. The documentary goes to the frontlines of this national health and economic crisis and through the incredible personal stories of Americans desperate to lose weight, reveals some of the diverse ways the nation is battling the bulge.

The one-hour documentary begins inside one of the nation’s preeminent hospitals—the Cleveland Clinic—with the powerful and emotional story of Henry Butler, an obese patient lying on the operating table undergoing bariatric surgery. Butler is one of 12 million Americans considered severely obese, defined as more than 100 pounds overweight. Wapner speaks with Dr. Philip Schauer, the Director of the Clinic's Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, a specialized unit that performs the surgery of last resort on more than 500 patients each year. Wapner also interviews Dr. Toby Cosgrove, the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, about his controversial statement that if he had his choice, he would not hire obese people.

The obesity epidemic is acutely felt among the nation’s youth, with nearly a third of American children either overweight or obese. Many are threatened with the onset of diabetes, and some medical experts warn that for the first time in the history of our nation, this younger generation may be on track to have a shorter life span than their parents. CNBC goes back to school to examine the role the lunchroom plays in this national fight. Wapner tours a Virginia high school where students regularly flock to a school-sanctioned snack stand that sells a variety of candy and other junk food as early as 9:30 a.m. He also visits a California school struggling to offer healthier meals to a population raised in a culture of junk food and junk food marketing.

CNBC takes cameras inside the laboratories of Vivus, Inc., a cutting-edge pharmaceutical company working to develop an anti-obesity drug that could, if approved, be a financial blockbuster. CNBC also looks at the troubled history of previous popular diet drugs.

The documentary provides an intimate look at the Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge, a weight loss boot camp in Southern Utah that is helping some lose pounds and others make money. Despite fees of $2,000 per week, The Biggest Loser Ranch has a seven-month waiting list and revenues topping $5 million a year. Many of its guests are repeat customers, returning time and time again in an effort to keep off the weight.

Employers have a big stake in getting their workforce to lose weight and reduce the enormous costs in medical claims and lost productivity linked to obesity. CNBC cameras go inside Johnson & Johnson, and other companies big and small, that are investing in their employees’ weight loss and seeing big returns.

Mitch Weitzner is the Senior Executive Producer of “One Nation, Overweight.” Wally Griffith is the Senior Producer. Na Eng and Hakimah Shah are the Producers. Ray Borelli is the Vice President of Strategic Research, Scheduling and Long Form Programming.
Supersized Kids:  Childhood Obesity
We visit Revolution Foods, a start-up in Oakland, CA, that made $10 million last year by asking schools to re-think the standard school lunch. The company provides healthy, organic, home-style meals made locally from scratch.
Cutting out the Fat: Bariatric Surgery
12 million Americans are considered severely obese, defined as more than 100 pounds overweight. On any given Saturday morning at the Cleveland Clinic, you’ll find a crowded room filled with patients attending seminars on bariatric surgery.
The Skinny Business: Inside the Biggest Loser Resort
NBC's popular reality show The Biggest Loser is a worldwide phenomenon. It’s become a standalone health and lifestyle brand. Meet the people who find themselves at the Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge, a weight loss destination in Utah.
In Search of the Next Weight Loss Drug
Pharmaceutical companies are anxious for FDA approval to bring the next big blockbuster weight loss drug to market. Qnexa, made by Vivus Inc., is one of three new obesity drugs before the FDA awaiting federal approval.
Shaping Up at Work: Costs of Obesity to Business
Employers have a big stake in getting their workforce to lose weight and reduce the enormous costs in medical claims and lost productivity linked to obesity. Recent studies show an impressive return on investment for every dollar spent on prevention and wellness programs.


Click here for a printable version.