Could we beat obesity?

In America, we go big or go home on whatever is currently trending.  When something popular hits the media, people quickly feed right into and hop on the bandwagon.  In the past few years concern for obesity has hit an all time high, and more and more people are doing something about it.  It’s hard to open the newspaper or turn on the news without hearing about some new study on weight loss or a new diet.  Even in the newspaper the other day, I was surprised to see that on the Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list, 3 out of the 10 books were about weight loss and health:  The FastDiet, The Hormone Cure, and Shred: The Revolutionary Diet.

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More and more restaurants are expanding their menus to incorporate healthier options.  Even fast food places are adding more (somewhat) figure-friendly meals!  Burger King now offers Turkey Burgers and Veggie Burgers. Panera now has a hidden menu with their healthy options on it that you can only find out about through social media.  I’ve ordered from it once – it’s super secretive.  We went up to the counter and said we wanted to order from the “hidden menu.” From under the cash register the cashier pulled out some laminated menu for us to look at and then returned the menu to its hiding spot.

Skinny is no longer seen as ‘in.’  There’s more of an emphasis on being fit – the type of body you can only get from working out while cutting calories.  (Besides the whole thigh gap thing going on with teen girls, but they’re teenagers and their brains haven’t fully developed yet, so that’s irrelevant.)

My point is we are moving more and more in the right direction to fix the obesity problem.  Some people are taking longer to join the club than others, but I think in a few more years there will be a decline in the obesity rate.  People are educating themselves, signing up for the gym, eating healthier.

But like I said it’s a trend that is hitting social media hard, and I hope it doesn’t stop at being just a trend.  Not to be a negative nancy, but I can’t help but wonder if it will wear off.  Is it just the current “it” thing to do, or will people actually make these permanent changes to their lifestyles?  And if the latter does occur, will America beat this obesity epidemic?

Some related articles that may be of interest:

McDonalds talks about how they would like to change their menu with their customers changing nutritional needs.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/10/mcdonalds-criticism_n_3047239.html?utm_hp_ref=business#slide=2319286

Obesity Rates in U.S. Appear to Finally Be Leveling Off

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jan/17/health/la-he-obesity-20120118

Childhood obesity rates decline in NYC and LA

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/01/17/childhood-obesity-rates-drop-in-new-york-city-los-angeles-study

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6 thoughts on “Could we beat obesity?

  1. Great post. I do believe more people are aware of the problem and the health complications and costs associated with obesity but we are a long ways away from being where we were a few decades ago. I remember the First Lady saying that she hopes to solve the obesity problem within a generation….that’s a little far fetched. But we are definitely moving in the right direction

  2. Great post. It’s true there are more efforts, but not a lot of them are real. The veggie and turkey burgers at Burger King have about the same caloric density as their other options. We’re selling more books on diets and weight loss, but not everyone gets that it’s not about some quick fix diet. Until real, honest efforts get out there, I don’t think we’ll be making too many advances toward getting rid of obesity.

    • Yeah – whether or not these so-called “healthier options” are actually healthy and the fad diets are a whole other issue! People need to understand it’s actually simple Deficit in Calories + Exercise = weight loss. It’s pure science. People just look for the easy way out.

  3. I think obesity is an extremely complicated problem that has roots and implications far beyond what American moms are serving at dinner. Everything from income, geography, healthcare, education, agriculture, marketing, media, etc. plays a part, and unless government stops helping out the fast food/junk food companies, and the weight loss industry becomes genuinely concerned with health instead of a quick buck, obesity will never go away.

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