Earlier this week, I shared the results of a major survey that indicated Americans want to take advantage of the health benefits of food. Conversely, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 33.8% of all U.S. adults and 17% of our children are obese. America’s Eating Conundrum Part II.
There is an overabundance of articles postulating why America is fat. Some advocates blame food companies like Kraft, Kellogg’s, Coca Cola, McDonald’s to name a few, for bombarding us with their advertising. As a result, we have become wired, thus desire sugary and fatty foods. Others point their fingers at our schools for not menuing enough healthy options (blame it on budget cuts) given our children are eating one to two meals plus a snack per day at school. Psychologists attribute obesity to societal forces; our increasingly hectic and stressful lifestyles inhibit our ability to make the healthy choices all the time. Then there is the “Big Two” theory, reduced exercise and increased food consumption. Bottomline, Americans are ingesting more and more calories than they are burning.
I decided to google to find out the number of calories the average American consumes per day – 2,700. I also found out some other interesting statistics about our average annual eating consumption detailed below:
· French Fries – 29 lbs./year
· Pizza – 23 lbs./year
· Ice cream – 24 lbs./per year
· Soda – 53 gallons/per year
I am proud of my industry, foodservice, for stepping up to the plate in the fight against obesity by offering more healthful choices. Unfortunately, according to a Technomic report, only 23% of consumers polled are most likely to pick healthful foods when eating out. Again I circle back to the psychologists who attribute obesity to societal forces. Do we eat out for convenience thanks to time deprivation, our busy lifestyles? This much I do know. According to data released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, obesity and obesity-related illness currently costs the US nearly $170 billion a year. Some health official are projecting this dollar amount will more than double to $344 billion by 2018.
So what is it America, are we going to eat foods that are healthy or are we going to continue to eat unhealthy. Sounds like an Eating Conundrum to me.