This little animated NIH video about obesity is very powerful

By Dan Wilcock

In 2012 the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services produced this animated public service announcement. Scarcely more than a minute long, it nonetheless packs a philosophical wallop. I couldn’t agree more with its central idea, that little behavioral changes make a big difference.

The link between joint pain and excess weight, and the fact that ” just 10 pounds adds more than 30 pounds of force to your knees,” couldn’t be depicted more simply or concisely. Excellent computer animation, pacing, music, and message (writing and editing!), all make this a gem. It inspires me to lose weight, and to do so slowly with little changes.

Slightly tangential, but related: My math teacher freshman year of high school was fond of saying that knowledge deficits were like placing large rocks into a backpack. I was exhibit A because I had transferred schools and ended up taking only one semester of algebra. That deficit dragged down my ability to understand pre-calculus, which I barely passed–and only with the help of a tutor. I may never have been destined to become a mathematician, but I probably could have done a lot better with some course corrections along the way.

My point is that this video’s brilliant metaphor for the burden of excess weight (a sandbag on the shoulder) applies to many aspects of life. Mindless accumulation of possessions or indulgence in entertainment can deep six the finances of just about anyone. I’m happy that the U.S. government put together something so simple, yet so evocative and powerful.


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