Do you have a “family history” of heavy or obese people?

Then you probably also have a family history of eating the wrong food.

In the April 30 issue of USA Today (See link below), there was an article about a new four-part HBO documentary—The Weight of the Nation—that will begin on May 14.  The production provides independent advice on health and features dozens of top experts exploring the causes and solutions for obesity in the USA.

The latest numbers. The article provided a summary of the latest “heavy” statistics from the CDC:

  • 69% of adults are now overweight or obese
  • 36% of adults are obese (30 or more pounds overweight)
  • 32% of children and adolescents are overweight or obese
  • 17% of children are obese (up from 13.9% in 2010)

Image from the HBO documentary

Generally, these kinds of articles and documentaries have very little, if any, positive effect. That’s because nothing changes within the “system.” During my research that began in 2002, within the first six months, I had a blinding flash of the obvious when I suddenly concluded, “Oh my God—we’re eating the wrong food.”

The problem is simply that our system of academia, medicine, government, health-care, insurers, food producers and media are not telling us how to fix it. But there is one part of this later article with which I agree. Speaking of the documentary:

“The aim is to sound a very loud alarm — to say, we have enough evidence about the terrible toll obesity is exacting on individuals, our communities and our society,” Hoffman says. “The consequences of not acting, boldly, systemically and decisively, are dire.”

Although we keep hearing about all of the terrible consequences of excess weight, our system is not capable of telling us exactly what we should be eating to eliminate all these problems. From the article:

Excess weight is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and a host of other illnesses. “The Weight of the Nation” premieres with two back-to-back one-hour shows May 14 and two more May 15, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT each night. It has a companion book by the same name.

Although I would watch the documentary if I had HBO, I am not confident that it is going to do much good. But I will watch it eventually on YouTube and will report on it. In the meantime, let’s go back to that “family history” business. We’re always hearing about family history for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.—and tend to assume that there’s nothing we can do about it—if it’s in our family, we’re doomed. WRONG. Our genes may load the gun, but it is we (and our lifestyle choices) that pull the trigger.

Do you have a family history of eating unhealthy foods while boating?

So, do you have a family history or overweight people? Then maybe you should ask yourself a few more questions:

  • Do you have a family history of eating meat, dairy, eggs and highly processed foods three meals a day?
  • Do you have  family history of eating very few whole, un-processed plants?
  • Do you have a family history of eating a diet that features over 40% of its calories from fat?
  • Do you have a family history of not getting much physical exercise?
  • Do you want your own children to continue your family tradition?
  •  Or do you wish to take charge of your health NOW and give your own children the gift of life and health and a whole new family history for all your descendants?

If the answer to that last question is YES, then HOORAY for you. Although your teenagers probably won’t be real happy about the change at first, they will eventually come around, will thank you someday, and will make sure that your new family history will be a whole lot different than the past.

Where to get help? I recommend that you watch the HBO documentary, but don’t expect to learn much about how to really take charge of your health. You also won’t find much help on any of the “system” websites like those of the cancer society, heart association or diabetes association.

But you will find it on this website, in our book and in all of the published works of T. Colin Campbell and the following medical doctors: Esselstyn, Fuhrman, McDougall, Ornish and Barnard. You might want to start by taking our 4Leaf Survey with your family.

USA Today Article: ‘The Weight of the Nation’ explores costs of obesity

Changing your future family history begins with you and your children. Here’s a few of my earlier articles that might help:

  1. Selling junk to our children—more on the 1st Amendment
  2. Children — NOTHING is more important than what they eat!
  3. Deadliest oxymoron on Earth — Healthy Kids Menu
  4. Michelle, it’s time to tell the world about “meat & dairy.”
  5. Food allergies rising among children — says study
  6. Childhood Obesity — A “4-Leaf” school-teacher sounds off
  7. No cow’s milk for humans at any age…even Dr. Spock agrees
  8. Extremely early puberty…Would you believe 6 years old?
  9. How funny is a child with high cholesterol? Pretty funny on SNL.
  10. Protecting our children. And not just from predators.
  11. Dioxin, PCBs, DDT—and Fast Food

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to

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If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

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Blogging daily at…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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1 Response to Do you have a “family history” of heavy or obese people?

  1. Linda201 says:

    I, too, have said to all the people so dismissive of my whole plant food diet that their “family history” (which they invariably mention in defense of eating the typical S.A.D.) is actually a family history of certain food and lifestyle choices, whether or not a genetic predisposition exists.

    I do get HBO; I’ve made a note of the dates and I will watch the series. I’m very curious to see what dietary changes will be recommended. If I hear “everything in moderation” one more time, I may pelt my TV with Brussels sprouts.

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