By Dean L. Jones, C.P.M.
Within a month, the 2012 World Olympics will take center stage where we get a chance to see an array of the most physically conditioned human bodies on the planet. Aside from the obvious activities of exercising and competing in their respective sports, such athletes eat whole foods as much as possible to ensure endurance and optimum performance. Accordingly, at the last Olympics hosted in China, American athletes won 110 medals, totaling the most of any competing country. It is a shame that this global achievement stemming from physical proficiency does not transform to the rest of the American population when it comes to our weight woes.
The average American weighs 178 pounds, where the average Asian weighs 137 pounds, a 41 pound difference. Consider the latest reports that the USA accounts for 6% of the world’s population; it is a whopping 34% of the world’s body fat due to obesity. In contrast Asia has 61% of the world’s population, but only 13% of the world’s fat due to obesity. Mexico and England’s population is the closet at 24.2% and 23% of the world’s fat due to obesity, respectively. In stark contrast, South Korea and Japan are each 3.2% of the world’s fat due to obesity.
Just this month, a 17-year old boy living in San Diego tried reaching his arm up into a vending machine to get a sugary soda without paying and ended up getting it stuck in the machine’s receiving slot. Because no one could locate the keys to the machine, fire crews were called to the rescue and spent almost an hour trying to cut through the Coca-Cola vending machine to free the boy’s left arm. Wow, how bad is it when you think you have to quench your thirst by literally stealing a sugary soda? Sodas will only make you thirstier due to the chemicals contained in the product, yielding an obsession with consuming it. Ironically, since he never got the soda his immediate health was out of danger from drinking the bad stuff.
Even though the eating of processed sugar is not proven to be the major cause for why so many Americans are obese, when you compare the world consumption of sugar, the USA is at the top. The European nations have nearly twice as many people as the USA, but yet the Americans consume nearly the same amount of processed sugar. Our American symbolism of the red, white and blue is rapidly changing toward the bread, bite and chew.
No doubt Olympic athletes have favorite food stories that they had to bring into control in order to effectively compete. Perhaps by adopting more of an Olympian mindset we can bring those bad food obsessions under control and ultimately get in line with more appropriately carrying our weight.
Mr. Jones is a marketing strategist with the Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), sharing his view on mismanagement practices of packaged foods & beverages.