A recent study of obese people in Australia looked at how they perceived themselves in the media and what they thought about the approaches to “cure” obesity.
They perceived the diet industry as “greedy,” “a scam.” or a “rip-off” but most said they would still turn to the same industry for help with weight loss because they didn’t know where else to go for support.
It’s pretty sad that the “best” information out there is only provided by people hoping to make some money off the guy who’s just trying to get healthy.
Here’s what I propose as possible solutions to encourage people to lose weight. Some of it is stick and some of it is carrot. But the stick is aimed at food manufacturers, not individuals.
Tax junk food to make it as expensive as “good” food. This is directed more at the food manufacturers so they’ll start making nutritious, good-tasting products instead of the processed crap they’ve been putting out since the 1970s.
Make over the General Practitioner’s Office. Doctor’s should be pushed toward wellness maintenance models instead of “sick treatment” models. I want to literally place nutritionists and highly certified personal trainers in doctors’ offices. A medical referral will provide you food and workout advice that’s safe, effective, and reasonable.
Encourage businesses to 100% reimburse their employees for fitness and weight loss programs. I’ve read studies over the years that support this as a huge ROI (return on investment). Workers immediately become more productive, take less sick time, and have less significant medical issues which drops the health costs for the company overall.
Stock workplace cafeterias and vending machines with only healthy food. Doesn’t this just make sense? Why let an employee inhale a Twinkie and then deal with his 3:00 pm sugar crash? While you’re at it, offer cooking classes during off hours at the cafeteria to show employees how to cook healthfully. And for any healthy dishes served at the company cafeteria hand out recipe cards so folks can cook the meal at home.
In urban areas, focus on developing safe outdoor spaces for people to play and workout. I’m lucky that Boston has a wonderful park system, beautiful paths along the Charles River, and tons of pocket parks throughout the city. Encourage the development of more pocket parks. Look at developing roof tops as areas people can access. Another great example is the old elevated railway renovation in Chicago. They took an eyesore and turned it into a beautiful park and walkway.
Make all restaurants post nutrition content directly on the menus. This works. Would you order a 2,000+ calorie meal from the Cheesecake Factory if you knew exactly what you were putting in your mouth? The food industry is very sophisticated, they hire chemists and marketers to feed you mounds and mounds of cheap food that appeals to your caveman palate. By insisting on menu disclosure these same people will need to retool their dishes with fresh herbs, healthy fats, and diet-friendly starches. It’ll still taste great. We’ll just be giving them a strong push to go in the right direction.
What do you think? What would you add or take away from this list? I’d love your thoughts.