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Who doesn’t know that nearly 70 percent of our nation is either overweight or obese? And the trend keeps rising. Dr. Michael Ungar, a family therapist, in his article “Why did Walmart buy a plus-size women’s fashion line?”1 puts his finger on weight-related trends. He  concludes that the move by Walmart “says a lot about failure of the self-help industry . . . and fitness and dieting programs.” Common sense tells us that if Walmart invests in a plus-size woman’s fashion venture, the company expects increased sales and revenue. Plus-sized apparel is one of the fastest growing in the clothing industry. Why wouldn’t it be with more than half of US women now wearing a size 14 or larger?

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But Ungar’s article wasn’t to give accolades to Walmart’s smart financial move. No, his concern, as is mine, was why this avalanche of need for over-sized clothing. Americans now consume 23 percent more calories than in 1970. Ungar points out that while “The self-help, fitness and diet industries have been making billions of dollars promising solutions that simply don’t work,” people are more influenced to make informed decisions when opportunities for better choices are placed in front of them.

Self-help places responsibility on individuals. If we think of the many times we have been influenced by pictures of food or the wafting aroma of pizza, doughnuts, or other favorite foods, we see his point. Many places have supersized sugary drinks or have tempted patrons with extra foods (think “Do you want fries with that?”) to increase sales and revenue. Who can resist? And we aren’t prone to change for the better without strong incentives.

See the source imageUngar insists society needs to shift emphasis from individual’s self-control to changing the world around us such as 1) government intervention on sizes of sugary drinks, 2) calorie counts on menus, 3) taxes on sugar, 4) removing empty calorie foods from checkout lines, and 5) providing greater access to fresh produce for all people. Several of these practices are underway in efforts to reduce the girth and improve overall health of citizens. Many towns and cities have initiated accessibility to parks, walking areas, and bike lanes.

Dr. Ungar makes no claims at knowledge or education in the field of nutrition. He sees before him what all should see―a society run amok from constant exposure to eat too many calories. Is he right? What are your thoughts about regulating, taxing, or whatever it takes to help people make healthier food choices. Drop me a line in the comments and share your views. When do positive actions to control decision making for our own good override freedom of choice to have excess weight that costs in enormous medical bills and lost wages?

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See the source image

 

DeSoto Times-Tribune, P. O. Box 100, Hernando, MS 38632, Vol 123, Issue 46, page 4, June 20, 2019

 

 

 

 

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Like a pendulum, the latest food craze swings from one extreme to another. How will this year measure up to previous years? As consumers become more health conscious, food trends shift. According to The Hartman Group, we can look ahead to several changes in 2012. A few of those include:

  • Change in portion size. Smaller portion sizes emerge as customers, restaurants, and retailers move away from the idea that “Bigger is Better to Smaller is Beautiful.”
  • Emphasis on personalized nutrition. Look for increased interest in nutrigenomics (nutritional genetics) as customized diets replace the “one-size-fits-all” attitudes of past years. Expect processed food choices to shift toward higher quality foods.

A taste for real food beckons today’s consumers as the following trends increase and more outdated ones decrease.

  • Real butter replacing margarine.
  • Grass-fed meats displacing soy protein. Reports of side effects and advice from health professionals have caused soy to plunge into disfavor.
  • Healthy fats instead of fat-free.
  • Cage-free whole eggs emphasized more than egg whites.
  • Dairy from grass-fed cows instead of grain-fed. Milk from grass-fed Jersey, Guernsey, and Brown Swiss cows produce higher quality fat than those grain-fed which have higher levels of less healthy Omega 6 fatty acids.
  • Fresh produce touted over excessive supplements.
  • Stevia favored over artificial sweeteners.
  • Local, seasonal fruits replacing out-of-season exotic fruits with claims of higher antioxidant levels. Blueberries remain high on the list of preferred high-nutritional foods. Cherries continue to surface as a new favorite for athletes and health-conscious consumers. Expect to see a wider variety of local berries and tree fruits.

While consumers continue to follow older trends, healthier fares abound for 2012. Will you be in the mainstream of positive changes toward a healthier lifestyle?

For questions about any of these trends, contact me or see http://www.hartman-group.com/downloads/looking-ahead-2012-trends.pdf

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