A cohort study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in February this year—based on data from 3.2 mil Americans—concluded: ‘obesity was associated with shorter longevity and significantly increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality compared with normal BMI. Despite similar longevity compared with normal BMI, overweight was associated with significantly increased risk of developing CVD at an earlier age, resulting in a greater proportion of life lived with CVD morbidity.’
In May 2018, reports from Mexico showed the soda sugar tax introduced there in 2014, did—as intended—reduce beverage sales (12 percent in its first year). But, daily caloric intake by the individual consumers only decreased by negligible amounts!
So, what to do, before the lifestyle of modern man makes homo sapiens go the way of the dinosaurs?
The incentive for health care systems to take more charge is there. Health care systems around the world are strained under the burden of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, asthma, and arthritis. Furthermore, our economy is affected by associated costs such as decreased productivity, cost of adapting to larger bodies in transportation, buildings etc.
Obviously, the stick—the sugar tax—was not working, as there are still too many carrots—temptation—around us, in terms of cheap and accessible calories. This combined with more sedentary lifestyle is the route to extinction.
Even if healthier food concepts are starting to take over, the affordability of excess bad food is an unpleasant fact. Hopefully, we will get to a stage, where low income consumers can afford to buy healthier foods. For the moment, there are many solutions only for the ones, who can afford to buy healthy. You can slim down effectively by attending an exclusive Spa with lifestyle turnaround programs working your diet, exercise, and give you supplement support. These changes of daily habits are unfortunately a dream for the few.
Lifestyle change programs for the average consumer are on way. An enormous educational task is getting organised within public programs; such as the 12 week weight loss and exercise plan by National Health Services in UK. However, for the individual, transition to a healthier life style is hard.
An overlooked factor is the psychological parameters associated with dieting. They are enormous. Reducing the desire to snack and eating smaller meals require a very strong mindset. It’s very hard, and everyone has an obligation in supporting and strengthening the motivation of the individual dieters. For businesses, this also represents an opportunity if they can get this right.
Industry has the innovation challenge to create more products with low caloric footprint, not just low in sugar. They should also try to offer solutions supporting the dieting person in eating less. This does not mean promising miracles, but promising a little help in:
· easy calorie counting and variety in meal options,
· solutions to keep the hunger at bay, by satiating effect, bulking and glucose control,
· effective metabolic actives targeting metabolism of the dormant adipose cells and reversing insulin resistance to metabolise excess body fat effectively.
The industry has the tools to create these effective product solutions—solutions that assist the consumers calorically, biologically and psychologically to reduce their body weight.
People can do this, when they have the right products, provided they get dietary education, start exercising and generally embraced by associates, friends and family to support them in this hard endeavour, which will take time and effort.
Authorities must work more actively and directly with industry in leveraging these initiatives, as this is a multi-complex issue. Not by imposing taxes, but offering incentives for creative nutrition and supplement solutions, which with good science, but also consumer insights and communication helping to reverse the fate of millions of individuals.