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Diet Wars [electronic resource]

Explores the social, cultural & dietary factors that led to the fattening of America, and examines how the medical & diet industries responded to consumers' desire to lose weight. The dizzying array of weight loss programs & diets are often contradictory.
2005; 2004

Losing It [electronic resource]

This PBS Scientific America Frontiers episode tackles a common problem that confronts those who are struggling to lose weight - finding the healthiest and most successful way to shed those pounds and keep it off over the long term. In Losing It, the camera follows a dozen subjects for several months as they adopt a wide variety of approaches, from simply counting calories and following online diet systems to more drastic measures such as gastric bypass surgery. It's not only an up-close and personal view of the weight loss battle but also provides key insights as to what works, what doesn't...and what are the risks.

Nutrition and Weight Management [electronic resource]

There's no end to the number of "miracle" diets advertised on TV. Combat their influence with this video, which illustrates what's really needed to reach and maintain a healthy weight - commitment, discipline, and attention to dietary details. Focusing on bad eating habits as the main factor in America's obesity epidemic, the program also cites lack of exercise along with cultural and technological issues. Viewers learn about body mass index, or BMI; the risks of being overweight or obese; ways in which healthy eating and exercise help to prevent a range of diseases; and the benefits of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and proper hydration. Students will also gain an understanding of calorie intake and expenditure using a simple formula. The USDA's MyPlate food graphic and dietary guidelin [...]

Fat and Happy? [electronic resource]

If a solution to America's obesity problem is found, it will likely draw upon not only clinical factors but also social, cultural, and psychological considerations. In this classic episode of Scientific American Frontiers, host Alan Alda talks with Dr. George Blackburn of Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to explore society's obsession with diets that promise quick, painless results. Alda also visits Arizona's Pima and Tohono O'odham Indians, who have the world's highest rate of obesity-related diabetes and now look to their traditional diets to save their culture and health. In addition, the program explores research on how obesity develops in children.

More Fries With That? [electronic resource]

Obesity is a widely discussed issue, and yet one of its principal causes - fast food consumption - shows no sign of going away. This program explores the popularity of convenience meals and the growing health and social concerns associated with them. Viewers learn about direct links between high-fat, high-sugar, highly processed foods and severe physiological problems as well as socioeconomic challenges. In addition, the video investigates a number of lifestyle factors that influence diet, including long work days or study sessions, high-tech entertainment and communication, and an overall rise in the pace of living.

Diet [electronic resource]: A Look at Processed Food, Nutrition, and Obesity in the 20th Century

Attitudes about the industrialization of food have changed greatly over the past several decades. What used to be considered a scientific miracle now seems like a horrific joke: piglets being reared in incubators that look like tiny iron lungs; fish raised in tanks of runoff water - and growing at a remarkable rate! - from a nuclear power plant. These scenarios and more are presented in Diet as it traces the rise and fall of processed food, from promising cure for malnourishment to eventually being linked to obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Using archival footage from BBC's Horizon television series, the program also reviews 20th-century theories about the cause of obesity, and the diets and "miracle cures" designed to combat weight gain.

Recovering [electronic resource]: Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa

Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are serious medical conditions that can be deadly if left untreated, and they afflict people of all ages and races, especially young women. This video follows Peabody- and Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker Larkin McPhee (Dying to Be Thin) as she uncovers facts about eating disorders and the many challenges of coping with them. Viewers meet health and psychology experts as well as patients in recovery who offer honest appraisals of their struggles to overcome debilitating eating disorders. Topics and themes include: Who is at risk? What causes and perpetuates an eating disorder? Why are eating disorders dangerous? How are they treated?

The Truth About Fat [electronic resource]

Surgeon Gabriel Weston wants to find out why we're getting fatter - and she doesn't believe that it's simply a failure of self-control. From the power of hormones on our appetite to stomach surgery, genetics, and the impact of a pregnant woman's diet on her unborn child, Weston explains the science behind obesity and asks whether new research can help fight the fat epidemic.

The Brain and Food [electronic resource]: Secrets of Your Mind

The brain may be the control center of the human nervous system as well as the chief focus of neurological research, but its link with another organ-the stomach-is a topic of increasing interest and study. This ABC News program looks at the brain's complex relationship with food and its role in America's obesity epidemic. With help from sophisticated imaging techniques, viewers go inside an obese person's brain to see how it responds to fattening foods. Case studies include an overweight woman who has tried everything from diets to bariatric surgery to manage her constant eating compulsion and is now turning to brain surgery-the most radical weight loss procedure ever attempted. Another story features a woman with a disturbing form of somnambulism: she eats in her sleep. Does brain r [...]

Born to Be Fat [electronic resource]

The case of a mouse born in 1994 with the molecular basis for obesity is the focus of this episode. Its discovery was the starting point for a revolution in the science of human weight loss. It was found that the mouse was missing a hormone called leptin, which turns off feelings of hunger. A similar absence has been found in obese humans. The detection of genes that determine the extent of control we have over our appetites has caused a revolution in the study of weight loss. It helps explain why some of us are fat and others are thin and is opening up the possibility of controlling the urge to overeat.

Fixing Fat [electronic resource]

This episode examines the way in which the traditional weight-loss advice of dieting and exercising works for only five percent of the millions of us who are fighting flab. An operation that reduces the size of the stomach is a solution, but most overweight people would much prefer to take drugs to help them become thin. However, such medicines can cause dangerous - even fatal - side effects. Thus, a food of the future containing natural ingredients that can help us feel satiated and prevent us from overeating is being cooked up.

Living on Air [electronic resource]

This episode looks at the increase in the number of people with anorexia. The condition has been known for hundreds of years-long before the media and the fashion industry created a thin "ideal" for women to aspire to. It has the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric illnesses, yet very little is known about what causes it or how to cure it. This exploration into the latest research on the causes and effects of eating disorders follows scientists as they track down anorexia in the least expected places. They look for the answers to some key questions: Are eating disorders inherited? Is there an "anorexia gene"? Do anorexics have a malfunctioning stress response system that makes them sick?

Breaking the Wall of Childhood Obesity [electronic resource]: What Parents, Politics, and Vegetables Can Do

Ask a child which tastes better, brussels sprouts or burgers, and the answer will be a quick one. Childhood obesity in developed countries is increasing rapidly as a leading preventable cause of death worldwide. In this video from the 2009 Falling Walls Conference, Jean Michel Borys claims that to battle obesity means to battle our mentality: parents, politicians, and schools must all work together to tackle the everyday laziness that makes junk food appear the easiest way to feed a child. Borys, a specialist in endocrinology, metabolic diseases, and nutrition, presents the holistic concept - involving physical activity, nutrition, and environmental interventions - that led him to launch Epode, a program designed to improve the quality and nutritional value of school dinners in Franc [...]

Preventing Eating Disorders [electronic resource]

An alarming number of teens today - both girls and boys - feel dissatisfied with their body to the point of engaging in unhealthy eating behaviors that can be life-threatening. From trying fad diets to binge eating to suffering from bulimia or anorexia nervosa, disordered eating behaviors affect not only physical health, but emotional and mental health as well. It also negatively affects family, friends, and supporters of these teens. This video teaches teens about balanced eating and how the body, especially at their age, is negatively affected by dieting. It also exposes media-glorified body images as unrealistic and dangerous, and addresses the dangers of stereotypes.

Self-Image and Eating Disorders [electronic resource]: A Mirror for the Heart

For many women, a preoccupation with body image and a lack of self-esteem manifest themselves in an obsession with food and diet. Such destructive obsessions can result in anorexia nervosa and/or bulimia. These eating disorders are not about food; they are a reflection of and an outlet for inner turmoil, fueled by society's focus on appearance and the fashion of thinness. This program looks at the hidden behavior, stress, denial, and the cycle of guilt and shame that underlie these eating disorders; shows how depression, low energy, desperation, serious medical complications, and even death can result; and explores their effects on family and friends. The program shows how, when women begin to admit to themselves that there is a problem, relief comes in sharing their story with other [...]

Oat-Infused Milk Drink [electronic resource]

Food-science students design prize-winning drink to nourish and support weight-loss goals.

Fat or Fit? [electronic resource]

With increased rates of obesity, come increased rates of heart disease, diabetes, and other health issues. New, high-tech methods are being tested that would help fight the battle of the bulge. This film takes a look at new methods of dieting, the use of technology in training programs, and an appetite-suppressing chip that lives in your stomach.

Dying to Be Thin [electronic resource]

This program profiles a young woman obsessed with the desire to be thin. It has taken her four hospitalizations and years of outpatient therapy to help her overcome her problem. Doctors in this program discuss the characteristics of anorexia nervosa and bulimia and identify those most likely to be affected by these disorders. Self-starvation and binging and purging can lead to cardiac problems and a cessation of the menstrual cycle. And although great efforts have been made to educate people about eating disorders, they continue to represent a nationwide problem.

She's Not Fat ... She's My Mom

This unique and powerful film provides incredible insight into the sad world of compulsive overeating and the turmoil of addictive behavior. Filmmaker John Spellos follows his mother through a five-month period as she struggles to change her eating habits and deal with the psychological issues that have brought her to obesity. Family and friends share stories and examine their own roles in the development of her eating disorder and how their lives have been affected. The candor of all the film's participants result in many poignant moments that will inevitable change the way we look at obese people. This is a population that suffers from an addiction just as debilitating and rampant as alcohol and drug abuse, yet is more often than not, met with insensitive jokes rather than the much [...]