Confronting the obesity contentment malady - The Packer

Confronting the obesity contentment malady

01/04/2013 10:01:00 AM
Tom Karst

The hard-to-hear truth is that the Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys say 69% of adults are overweight or obese, with more than 78 million adult Americans considered obese.

Diabetes is an increasing problem in children and adults.

Our friends at the Produce for Better Health Foundation recently issued a news release about “easy to keep New Year’s resolutions resulting in a healthier you.”

From the release:

“You do it. Your best friend does it. And your co-workers do it many times over. What is the it? The annual ritual of making, and then, typically later, breaking New Year’s resolutions. Every year many of us resolve to be healthier and be more physically active for an improved self. We visualize in our minds before and after pictures of ourselves as motivation to make the resolutions, but studies show that after six months less than half (46%) of the resolution makers are still sticking to them.”

“Less than half” sounds generous to me. Instead of difficult to keep resolutions (exercise, cut out sweets, count calories), the PBH release offers suggestions such as No. 1: “Eat one more fruit or vegetable each day than you currently are eating as an easy way to increase your consumption of fruit and vegetables.”

Other suggestions include “trying a new fruit or vegetable each month” or simply “eating more fruit and vegetables.”

Research by PBH suggests that Americans don’t want to be “guilted” into eating better.

“We don’t want (consumers) to feel guilt,” Elizabeth Pivonka, president and chief executive officer of PBH, recently told me.

“We want them to feel good about doing the right thing.”

This path of least resistance may make sense in terms of engaging consumers, but will it get them to change?

We don’t want consumers to give in to contentment, the malady of not wanting to change the diets of their families simply because of lack of energy, inertia or indifference.

Let’s not make pre-made excuses for Americans before they have a proper chance to fail. Like a personal trainer or a stern doctor, the industry should also use tough love to cause Americans to know the clock is ticking on their health.

They are indeed fat but perhaps not as happy as they deserve.

What's your take? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.

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January, 07, 2013 at 12:56 PM

Wow, wish I knew where to find a trainer for 24 sessions for $1200 - nothing like that exists near where I live. Try closer to $2500 - $3000.

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