Who’s to blame for the obesity epidemic? The suspects are many, from television to schools to parents. A growing number of people are arguing that one culprit – the food and beverage industry – is getting off relatively scot-free.|
Fashion magazines, infomercials, and our own past failures seem to place all of the blame on the individual. We’re constantly reminded that we’ve screwed up, or that we’re not good enough, or that being overweight is the result of some personal defect. Not true, not true, and REALLY not true.
Personal choice and personal responsibility play huge roles in building a healthy lifestyle. Nobody can do it for you, but throwing up your hands, feeling powerless, and blaming other people is no answer. But recognizing the effect that food and beverage marketing can have on your psyche, attitude and actions is important too. When you recognize what they’re doing, you can more effectively fight back and make your own informed decisions.
"The food industry is changing, but slowly," says Dr. Kelly Brownell, author of Food Fight, a look at America’s obsession with food and what we can do about it. "Dieters can become ‘media literate.’ This means being vigilant to and upset about the multiple layers of persuasion the industry uses to get them and their children to eat unhealthy foods (not only the obvious food ads on TV, but product placements in shows and movies, pricing strategies, etc.)."
According to Dr. Brownell, we should pay particular attention to:
Says Dr. Brownell, "School systems all around the country are taking on this issue, first by getting rid of soft drinks in vending machines. This movement is growing and will probably be joined soon by more organized efforts to get rid of unhealthy snack foods, improve school lunches, and increase physical activity."