Consumers are looking for solutions.
During the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States. Data from 2008 shows over 64% of the US states have a prevalence of obesity equal to or greater than 25%. Colorado continues to be the only state with the lowest levels of obesity. Today, over 32% of children and adolescents-- or 25 million kids--are obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. BMI is calculated from a person's weight and height. This provides a reasonable indicator of body fatness and weight categories that may lead to health problems such as cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Today over $147 billion a year is spent in weight-related medical bills in the US alone.
Progress has been made:
• $28 billion worth of products have been reformulated with lower fat, salt, or sugar
• Ms. Michelle Obama started “Let’s Move” to create awareness on obesity and further promote school lunch reform and fitness in schools
• Restaurants offer heart healthy menu items. Portion size alternatives such as 100 calorie pack snacks and mini-foods are now in vogue.
• Television programming such as “The Biggest Loser” and Jamie Oliver’s Show, The Food Revolution raise attention to this matter.
Yet, the data on overweight and obesity continues to rise in the wrong direction.
What can a restaurant chain do to help consumers and to‘do their part’ on this ever growing topic?