According to the latest findings from an American Dietetic Association (ADA) survey, although two-thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese, half (49%) say they are doing everything they can to achieve balanced nutrition and a healthy diet. Interestingly, in 1995 when the nation was skinnier, only 35% admitted to doing everything they could to be healthy. How’s that for a contradiction? So you’re telling me that today, in 2011, consumers are working harder than ever to trim the fat and achieve healthier lifestyles? I’ll believe it when I see it.
“The survey’s findings show a significant proportion of people don’t think they need to do more, despite increasing rates of obesity, diabetes and other nutrition-related health conditions. We need to communicate to everyone the positive message that change is necessary and possible,” said Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo, ADA spokesperson. Thanks Jeannie, but I think consumers need more than just communication—they need a swift kick in the butt.
How about another contradiction? Since 1991, when ADA first started this survey, the association has segmented consumers into three groups: “I’m Already Doing It”—consumers who feel that maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise are very important, are concerned about diet, nutrition and overall fitness, and feel they are doing all they can to eat a healthy diet; “I Know I Should”—consumers who feel that maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise are very important, but may not have taken significant actions to do all they can to eat a healthy diet; “Don’t Bother Me”—people who do not feel diet and exercise are very important to them and are the least concerned with their overall nutrition and fitness. If I were a betting woman, I would say most consumers put themselves in the last category.
Well, thank god I don’t like to gamble, because according to ADA half of those surveyed feel they are already doing enough. Enough of what exactly?! Actually, the percentage of “Don’t Bother Me’s” was as large as 40% in the mid-1990s, while the “I’m Already Doing It” crowd made up only 23% of respondents. Again, this was during a time when the nation was, according to statistics, relatively healthier.
Consumers also claim to get most of their nutrition information from TV. In fact, ADA said, “Television has remained Americans’ most popular source since ADA began conducting its survey.” What channel are they watching?
If I sound angry, I am. I’m tired of people whining about how hard it is to be healthy. It’s not. Being healthy does not mean you need to go to the gym seven days a week. It does not mean you have to subsist on vegetables and fruit and shun anything remotely appetizing. And it does not mean you have to meditate in order to be spiritually connected.
Being healthy, in body and mind, is actually much simpler. Maybe it means you take five minutes out of your day to just stare into space and clear your mind. Maybe it means you only go out to eat once a month—and maybe you skip the appetizer and drinks. Maybe it means you turn off the TV and go for a walk. And maybe it means you take responsibility for your own actions and stop complaining.