The nation's obesity epidemic is literally too big to ignore. And now the most respected names in medicine are hoping to galvanize citizens and employers to confront the problem.

Tonight, HBO will premiere "The Weight of the Nation," a four-part documentary series that examines the risks and consequences of obesity—everything from childhood prevention to community involvement.

The impact is certainly not out of reach for employers and HR professionals. They know obesity impacts business. Companies lose $4.3 billion annually due to obesity-related absenteeism, according to the Institute of Medicine. And for firms with offices around the country, it's obvious the costliest health plan claims are coming out of places in which obesity – and poverty – is rampant. [See 10 fattest states in America]

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