Monday, May 10, 2010

"An Eating Epidemic"

Before I start today's post I want to direct those who didn't read it to yesterday's post if you'd like a new recipe for pesto (made with spinach)! It was simple, cheap, and QUITE healthy (compared to traditional pesto).

A couple weeks ago the Columbus Dispatch published an article titled, "An Eating Epidemic", which discussed some of the many reasons why America is so darn obese and unhealthy. Here are some shocking points I pulled from the article:

- 30 years ago the Average American consumed ~2169 calories per day (Source: USDA). By 2008 that number had reached 2674 calories per day, which is an increase of about 23 percent!

- Everywhere we turn there is food. Literally. Think about it; candy at your local bank, vending machines located in just about all offices everywhere (with maybe one or two healthier choices), food at every pharmacy, gas station, and even home goods shops, food on TV, fast food or other restaurants within walking distance of just about any home, and food available to you at the click of a computer button or dial of a phone number.

- Car seats now come with food trays and one or two cup holders. Is this really necessary?? I can see it being important for long trips, but for the everyday errands? I think not.

- According to the journal of Health Affairs children snack almost three times a day on non-nutrient dense foods such as chips and candy. This is on top of their three square meals.

- American's concept of serving size is completely skewed. Restaurant serving sizes have increased significantly, and plate sizes have increased from ten wide inches 60 years ago, to about 12 or 13 inches wide currently. Research has shown that a larger plate size can cause a person to eat 20 percent more calories in one sitting.

- On the world market you can purchase 19,000 calories worth of sugar for $1. It's no wonder our food is full of sugar!

- Children ages 8-12 view an average of 21 food commercials a day, according to a study done by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Have you seen commercials for foods that are geared towards children? They are powerful, and rarely are they advertising healthy foods.

- When people around us gain wait, so do we. When a person's spouse becomes obese, that person has a 37% increased chance of becoming obese themselves.

Want to hear something positive for a change? The CEO of SONY attended the National Association of Theatre Owner's annual convention in March, and do you know what his message was? He urged attendees to provide healthy food options at the movie theater, such as fruit cups, veggies and dip, yogurt, and granola bars. AWESOME idea! (Source: ADA Times)

Giveaway Update

Don't drink sugar, drink WATER! Check out this fantastic campaign and giveaway that is trying to advocate drinking more water, and less soda, etc. This is a step in the right direction. I love it.

Coming Up

Tomorrow I will post some of your comments, and my responses, regarding my last two posts about "Our Toxic Food Environment". Until then, stay healthy, enjoy life, and have a great day!


  1. I would love it if they sold healthier fare at the movies! That's a great idea!

  2. I agree- too much food, irresponsible marketing practices, and a culture that embraces these views is a public health emergency. I think health options and education are the way to go!

  3. That fact about how many calories of sugar you can buy for $1 is shocking!

    Hey thanks for including the post about my giveaway! No need to email me since I saw it.

  4. i just read what you typed "when people around us gain wait, so do we" and thought you were talking about a wait list at a restaurant! i work way too often!

    Love all the tidbits you posted on! I think snacking for kids has become obligatory instead of what it get you through to the next meal and keep your energy and nutrition up.. I wish there was more of teaching kids to use their hunger scale appropriately!

  5. I hate the whole over-sized portions. I really prefer when restaurants serve reasonable, even slightly small portions, that are really well done. I'd much prefer a really good small pasta dish than some huge, never-ending pasta bowl at some place such as Olive Garden. I too love that movie theater idea! They should get more creative with popcorn, and do something like air-popped with a bunch of different herb topping options or something.

  6. Thanks for this post. I wasn't aware of some of these facts and I was just thinking this morning as I was watching the news, how disgusted I am by the current Apple Jacks commercial. You know, the one with the three kids playing Doctor and the doc tells the patient to eat more cereal. It now has Fiber! 3 grams! This ad drives me insane because it's still loaded with sugar and food coloring and god knows what else! It makes me sad and frustrated.

  7. Thanks for all the statistics, I love reading those.

    Re: the car seat thing... I also don't understand the necessity of having tvs and dvd players in cars. I mean, seriously, we can't even go for a drive without kids needing to watch tv? When I was a kid, I was perfectly happy to look out the window on roadtrips, or to read a book or something. Kids should be doing that!

  8. Isn't this just crazy and sad! Gosh, I hope things start going back in the right direction!

    What are your thoughts on sparkling or flavored tonic waters? In the winter I basically only drink water and tea but in the summer it's too hot for me to really enjoy tea but I get a little bored of only drinking water and am trying to find creative and pure ways to keep getting my intake - maybe I should try just adding a piece of fruit?

  9. we're so engrained with food food food. i think its always on my brain since everywhere i go theres a sign.. theres an ad.. theres a product, a store, a restaurant, a fast food venue, a sample, EVERYTHING! and all i hear when i walk around is ppl talknig about food or diets etc. our brains run on food talk. its pretty insane... yet so normal in mdoern society. i think this was so great u highlighted this in todays post. thank you so much! <3 xoxo ur simply the best!

  10. The portion thing is seriously out of control- I am sure it's bad enough here in the UK, but it was when I moved to the US that I was able to compare. Things like bagels are about 1 1/2 times the size of the ones standardly sold here- even your soda cans are bigger. Not to mention portions in restaurants or bakeries. Am sure it is going to spread over here in time...the good thing was the huge supersized apples and bananas I got in the US! Haha. The ones here are tiny by comparison!

  11. And on top of that, when people were consuming on average 2100 calories years ago, they were also less likely to be working a sedentary job. People who ate farm fresh food that also had lots of butter and lots of calories were also the same people out there in the fields all day, and this is a major change in the population that people do not account for. I have had clients say they eat like their parents did and their parents were thinner. But, the forget that their parents moved a lot more (usually) then they do at this time.

  12. car seats with food and cup holders?!?!? wpw thats scary!

    21 food commercials a day---i totally do believe that!!

  13. I commented but I think I lost connection before it went through! The sugar addiction in America is revolting. I see other moms perpetuate the cycle everyday and it kills me. I have become even more aware of the sugar content in Snuffy's food since I have begun reading your blog! I have actually switched out some of her mainstays. I have learned that an organic snack isn't so great if it's sky high in natural sugars.

  14. Very eyeopening facts! It is amazing how much things have changed - and even with all this knowledge!

    Great post!

  15. Yikes. And the sad thing is that it is so deep in our culture now too. I find myself at a loss for ideas when I try to come up with something social to do with friends that does NOT involve food. I mean of course there's nothing wrong with socializing over good food, but if you don't know what to do when you're not eating? That seems wrong. Not to mention that it has taken me YEARS to train myself not to get a snack at the movie theater even when I'm not hungry.

  16. Everywhere we turn there is food because it IS AN EASY SELL. The food industry sleeps with the health food industry, and has a side fling with the oil business, because WE SPEND our values. Do I value FOOD? NO. Living in Europe, it is clear that the majority (not all) people value nourishing pleasure, rather than food itself. It is saying no to boxed "low fat" coffee cake because you already had a fresh baked croissant earlier in the morning. Food satisfies physical and emotional longings, but art, socializing, literature, music, traveling, balances out the rest.
    Food is the Quick Fix.
    May I should do a post about that...
    hey, do you have access to guar guar? I am wondering if you've used it. I am curious...

  17. It makes me so sad when I walk into a grocery store and see the shelved right by the front entrance with various preboxed baked goods with a huge SALE sign screaming above them, and even sadder when I see how often people buy these items. And the portion sizes in restaurants ... oh my goodness. Even my inlaws have upsized their plates, and they're both trying to lose weight! Whenever I eat over at their house, I use a salad plate for my meals, and my father-in-law teases me relentlessly. Is the teasing the result of nonchalance or guilt? Either way, not having much luck talking with them.

    ANYway, now my comment has turned into a complaint-fest :) Thanks for sharing the Eating Epidemic article, Gina! The numbers there are truly insane. I think it's great that the CEO of Sony is encouraging healthier snacks - yay!

  18. Just my opinion, but I think that the obesity epidemic starts in the homes of America. We can't blame the media or access to food. If parents choose to give their children 3 crummy snacks each day or watch enough television to constitute viewing 21 food commercials than the parents are to blame.

  19. I think that we are surrounded (by mostly unhealthy food) all day long is a big problem. But the biggest problem is portion sizes I think. What's served in restaurants is so completely out of whack that people have no idea what a proper serving is. In many restaurants even if you eat half, you still eat too much as the servings are that big. Plus, everything is full of fat and sugar...

  20. such great points, and important to realize. I must link to this post! Thanks for the reminders!

  21. There certainly is too much food around us- and it's not even healthy food for the most part. I find that it's hard to find fresh fruit or veggies when I'm in a crunch and often have to settle for an over-processed bar. Not fun!

    Great post Gina!