Confronting the malady of not wanting anything better - The Packer

Confronting the malady of not wanting anything better

01/03/2013 10:16:00 AM
Tom Karst

The hard-to- hear truth is that the Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys say about 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 #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: we want them to feel good about doing the right thing,” Elizabeth Pivonka of PBH recently told me.

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.

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Salinas, CA  |  January, 04, 2013 at 04:48 PM

How ironic that when I click the "Most Popular" stories in the right hand column of this page, the story that pops up is "Onion cheddar burger joins McDonald's $1 menu".

Jay Martini    
Chicago  |  January, 08, 2013 at 05:59 AM

Hey TK-- Tough love to consumers from the produce industry?! Surely you jest, sir. Commodity groups would be much better served cajoling & schmoozing the consumer through hi-def TV ads showing ripe blueberries and juicy tomatoes (like the cascading caramel & chocolate in candy bar ads) rather than stating to the public, "uhhhh, hey there, one more pork rind & you better bring the paddles with you."

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