Columns

Editor's Note: Time for an extreme cultural shift to battle obesity

July 30, 2009
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
Our industry must find the innovation within itself to fight obesity while increasing profits.

I haven’t written an editorial column in many years on obesity in America and its implications for the food and beverage industry. But after last month’s release of the “F as in Fat 2009” report from Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, it became clear to me that it’s time for our industry to take the lead in solving the problem.

According to the report, two-thirds of American adults either are obese or overweight. In 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20%. In 1980, the national average for adult obesity was 15%. 

The current economic crisis, report authors say, could worsen the obesity epidemic because food prices, particularly for more nutritious foods, are expected to increase.

Even though more states have nutritional standards for school lunches, breakfasts and snacks stricter than current USDA requirements and better nutritional standards for foods sold on school premises, our children continue to gain weight.

The report calls for a “National Strategy to Combat Obesity” that would provide healthy foods and beverages to students at schools; increase the availability of affordable healthy foods; boost physical activity at schools; limit computer screen time; and encourage employers to provide workplace wellness programs.

All of these programs would help trim costs for health care, which is one of the most urgent issues our nation faces. Should our government and employers embrace unconventional strategies to reduce health costs such as hypnosis and monetary incentives for people to quit smoking or reduce food consumption? Maybe it’s worth a try.

The plethora of diet sodas and reduced calorie entrees and snacks our industry produces doesn’t seem to be helping. Nor do the healthy choices at fast-food outlets that consumers shy away from. As I see it, the answer lies in an extreme, cultural mind shift to more healthy and natural alternatives in smaller portions. 

It’s not going to be easy. Just as the sustainability trend gained traction when corporations learned they could simultaneously help save the planet and reduce operating costs, our industry must find the innovation within itself to fight obesity while increasing profits.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

Recent Articles by Joyce Fassl, Editor-in-Chief

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Fabulous Food Plant: Paramount Citrus

Learn more about this fabulous food plant in Food Engineering's article, found here.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

THE MAGAZINE

Food Engineering Magazine

Food engineering magazine 2014 april cover

2014 April

Catch a preview of the Powder and Bulk Show in this April 2014 edition of Food Engineering. Also, be sure to check out a coffee stick making a real stir and a major advancement in the the pet food industry.
Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

 

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.pnglinkedin_40px.png