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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Panel Discusses Obesity




UMass Boston’s exercise and health sciences department showed part of the film “The Weight of the Nation” in the Campus Center Ballroom on Feb. 27. The screening was attended by about 70 people, mainly exercise and health sciences majors. 

The film, which addresses the obesity epidemic in the United States, includes several interviews with people trying to learn to cope with their weight. Besides the issue of obesity in America, the interviewees also discuss the dieting industry and its failure to find a diet which can keep weight off long term.

The film mentions eating when stressed and drinking soda as two factors that significantly contribute to obesity. Bypass surgery is a possible option for those looking to shed some pounds; however, the doctors in the film explain that there could be serious implications if the surgery does not go as planned.

According to a senior exercise and health sciences major, obesity is “the biggest issue right now in healthcare.” He added, “We have a huge opportunity to bring people together from all kinds of backgrounds, to really educate people, and possibly make environmental change that might be a model for other people in other places.”

Several panelists attended the screening to discuss and answer questions about the film. The panel mainly consisted of faculty from the exercise and health sciences and nursing departments, but also included an associate professor from Boston University, a psychologist, and a UMass Boston alumni.

Dr. Sarah Camhi of the exercise and health sciences department stressed the importance of the film. “I want [students] to understand that obesity is a complex issue [and] that there isn’t one answer – that what works for one person may not work for someone else.”

Students in attendance shared suggestions of ways to change food options which are available at UMass Boston. An issue which came up in discussion was the affordability of healthy food.

One student suggested that UMass Boston gets rid of the vending machines around campus to encourage healthy eating. In addition, it was suggested that UMass Boston keep the cafeteria open later and offer more fruit and healthy snacks.