WEIGHT PROBLEMS: ADULTS AND CHILDREN
One does not have to be in the weight-management business to have noticed the "plumping" of America. Do a little research on your own. Sit in a public place like an airport or a shopping mall and observe the passing scene. Sit there for fifteen minutes. What do you see? It seems as if every other individual is overweight - and not just a little overweight but considerably overweight. It's not only adults but children as well. Once again, I want to help you understand why this has taken place. Restaurants and stores are competing for what is called "share of stomach." Anyone who has ever studied or read about marketing knows that one of the goals of a marketing program is to increase market share (an item's percentage of the market—think of Coke's percentage of the overall soft drink market) in addition to increasing the overall demand for the product or service (increasing the overall consumption of all soda). Restaurants and food manufacturers want you to desire to eat more.
I have been driving for almost twenty-five years and remember when gas stations basically sold gasoline, related auto products, cigarettes, and perhaps soda. Today, gas stations are virtually grocery stores of junk food. Did you ever notice they rarely seem to carry fruits and vegetables? The choices tend to be buttered popcorn, which is prepared similar to movie-theater popcorn in tons of fat and is one of the most caloric foods available (a large popcorn is more than 1,600 calories, and it's not as large as you may like); candy; and huge containers you can fill with soda, cookies, cakes, and assorted salty snacks. All of these items are densely caloric. When you are at the pump, you'll notice that gas stations, in addition to strategically placed food courts in shopping malls, airports, ballparks, and retail stores, are designed to tempt you to eat, most likely when you aren't even hungry. Food, especially fatty fast food, is always being put in front of us. Ironically, you'll find a vast selection of fast-food franchises located within, of all places, hospitals.
As if the proliferation of easily available fast food wasn't enough, consider the following quote from Dr. Marion Nestle, Ph.D., a professor and chairman of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University: "There isn't a single food or nutrient that does not have its own lobbying group. These groups watch everything that the government does with intense scrutiny. Anything that indicates a government agency may say 'eat less,' they're right on top of it."
So, even the government seems powerless when it comes to curbing America's love affair with bountiful, readily available, high-calorie food. How do we manage these temptations? We begin right now. Remember, overeating is largely an addictive behavior, and the first step in breaking free of its hold is to examine why we originally developed this pattern.