For Immediate Release                                                                                   WXXI Little logo
Contact: Kristin Tutino, WXXI, (585) 258-0253



Free Screening Held September 17 at 7 p.m. at the Little

(Rochester, NY) August 31, 2012 – As part of its effort to help combat the obesity epidemic in our community, WXXI will host a free screening of Children in Crisis from the HBO documentary series The Weight of the Nation on Monday, September 17 at 7 PM at the Little Theatre (Theatre 1, 240 East Avenue, Rochester). The screening will be followed by a panel discussion of regional health experts. In this unique partnership, HBO and WXXI are making the film available to Rochester audiences for free. Admission for this event is first come, first served! Greater Rochester Health Foundation and Be a Healthy Hero are sponsoring the event.

Weight of the Nation addresses the growing obesity epidemic in the United States and highlights the efforts of individuals, worksites, and communities who are making positive changes. The following local experts will be available to answer audiences’ questions immediately following the one-hour film:

Bonnie C. DeVinney, Vice President and Chief Program Officer, Greater Rochester Health Foundation; Rachel Pickering, Associate Director of Community Engagement, Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency/HealthiKids; Lisa Harris, Pediatrician, Primary Care Physician, Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, University of Rochester Medical Center; and Stephen Cook, Pediatrician, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Golisano Children's Hospital, University of Rochester Medical Center. Bolgen Vargas, Rochester City School Superintendent, has also been invited to participate.

The panel will be moderated by WXXI VP of Television's Elissa Orlando, who is co-chair of WXXI Health Initiatives and Executive Producer of WXXI’s medical series Second Opinion.

In the United States, 31.7% of the nation’s children and adolescents ages two to 19 are overweight or obese. It is an epidemic in our community as well, with 40% of children ages two to 18 living in the City of Rochester either overweight or obese. Obesity contributes to five of the 10 leading causes of death in America, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, many cancers, and stroke, leading some experts to fear that this may be the first generation of American children with a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

Three years in the making, The Weight of the Nation examines the facts and myths of this urgent public health issue, showing how obesity affects the health of the nation and the health care system. Children in Crisis, just one of four programs that make up the documentary series, looks at the damage obesity is doing to our nation’s children. Through individual stories, this episode describes how the strong forces at work in our society are causing children to consume too many calories and expend too little energy; tackling subjects from school lunches to the decline of physical education, the demise of school recess and the marketing of unhealthy food to children. ?

The Weight of the Nation is a presentation of HBO and the Institute of Medicine, in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, and in partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser Permanente. ?To learn more about the project, visit: This free screening of The Weight of the Nation and panel discussion is made possible with support from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation and Be A Healthy Hero.


WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. The formal affiliation between WXXI and the Little Theatre, established in December 2011, enables the two organizations to work more efficiently by pooling resources and strengths in a number of areas including back-office operation and improved fundraising capabilities.  Log on to for more information about our services and programs.

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