When you take a look at obesity rates and their vast increases over the years, not only in the U.S. but in most of the western world, it no longer becomes difficult to understand why rates of heart disease, diabetes and other obesity-associated diseases are trending along. Though the reason for why so much of the population is becoming overweight can be blamed on a lot of things, including, inactivity, poor eating habits, and stress, it is becoming evermore clear that as a society we are overeating.
In a recent report published by the CDC (the new (ab)normal) and widely echoed throughout media, it appears that portion sizes in the U.S. are now four times the size compared to what they were in the 1950s. Though this may not be the sole contributor to the increased rates of obesity, these statistics cannot be ignored.
In my view, this problem has been largely created by the food industry, but to refrain from blaming ourselves would be unwise nevertheless. The constant drive to provide more food for less over the years to gain a competitive advantage is surely to have contributed to these current enormous portion sizes. Then there's the issue of upsizing; though it may only cost 50 cents more to upgrade to a large soda at the movies from a smaller size, is it really necessary to consume a liter of this sugar filled beverage?
The issue of overeating is not just limited to medicine. What about the effects of overconsumption on agriculture, and possibly climate change? And what about the ethical questions this raises: How is it that our food portions have grown four times in size, when a large portion of the rest of the world remains hungry?
In a previous blog, I discussed the move towards establishing a fat tax in Denmark, and the premise behind this tax is surely related to an effort to curb high relative and absolute portion sizes -- at least for products containing high contents of fats. Though this issue strives to steer the public and industry towards healthier food choices, this focuses on promoting health. Perhaps the issue isn't just that we are eating poorly, but rather that we are simply eating too much.
What are your thoughts?