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Weighty Matters: Louisiana's Obesity Problem (2012)

Louisiana Public Square



Genre: Panel

Place Covered: Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana

Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority

Date Issued: 2012-02-22

Duration: 00:56:55

Subjects: Filmed panel discussions | Health | Obesity | Weight loss


  • Sanford, Shauna Host
  • Gautreaux, Kevin Producer
  • Pitcher, Arlene Interviewee
  • Piglia, Susan Interviewee
  • Gordon, Stewart Interviewee
  • Heymsfield, Steven Interviewee
  • Guidry, Jimmy Interviewee
  • Champagne, Catherine Interviewee
  • Hammet, Tara Speaker
  • Yowell, Kristy Speaker
  • Fagan, Susan Speaker
  • Wales, June Speaker
  • Campbell, Marcia Speaker
  • Odom, Charlotte Speaker
  • Chaussey, Beverly Speaker
  • Williams, Ray, Sr. Speaker
  • Gauthreaux, Joseph Speaker
  • Moulder, Robin Speaker
  • Barron, Al Speaker
  • Mohanty, Rama Speaker
  • Dewey, Linda Speaker
  • Jackson, Ava Speaker
  • Greenstein, Bruce Panelist
  • Elkind-Hirsch, Karen Panelist
  • Katzmarzyk, Peter Panelist
  • Phenow, Kenneth Panelist


This episode of the series “Louisiana Public Square” from February 22, 2012, features Shauna Sanford leading a discussion between the audience members and panelists on obesity in Louisiana. A background report on the topic precedes the discussion. It includes interviews with: Arlene Pitcher, Ochsner employee; Susan Piglia, the director of corporate programs at Ochsner; Dr. Stewart Gordon, the chairman of the Louisiana Council on Obesity Prevention; Dr. Steven Heymsfield, the executive director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge; Dr. Jimmy Guidry, the state health officer with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals; and Dr. Catherine Champagne of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. The audience members then discuss: whether obesity is a public health or personal responsibility issue; the need for more nutritional education; and taxing junk food. A panel of experts then joins the audience to answer their questions. The panelists are: Secretary Bruce Greenstein of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals; Dr. Karen Elkind-Hirsch, the scientific director of the Woman’s Metabolic Health Center at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge; Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk, the associate executive director for population science at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center; and Dr. Kenneth Phenow, the chief medical officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. They discuss: their views on taxing junk food; the importance of nutritional education; decreasing portion sizes and increasing physical activity for weight loss and management; the steps being taken to combat the state’s high obesity rate; the impact of a mother’s health on her baby; employer wellness programs; the definition of obesity; and the evolving research on the diseases linked to obesity.