Obesity Rates Steady in Women: Not in Men

Articles
January 21, 2010

Obesity Rates Steady in Women: Not in Men

While the latest report from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES*) shows that the overall prevalence of obesity may have slowed; this is still no time to celebrate – especially with cake.

While the latest report from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES*) shows that the overall prevalence of obesity may have slowed; this is still no time to celebrate – especially with cake. The data was examined by a research team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Survey data revealed that currently 68% of the adult population is overweight or obese, leading to a long list of health problems – which are unfortunately deeply rooted in the way we eat and think about food. 
 
When data for men and women was analyzed separately, it was found that in the past ten years, levels of overweight and obesity in women leveled off at 64%, but the same data for men demonstrates a slight upward trend, or increase with current levels at 72%. A group effort is necessary to keep these statistics from increasing and through behavior change, make notable progress on the health and well being of Americans. This includes support from restaurants, schools, communities, food manufacturers and supermarkets. Habits are hard to break!
 
Since data for women seem to be slowing down, but the same can not be said for men, the Lempert Report suggests supermarkets roll out in-store programs targeting men. In-store programs targeting men? Yes, more men are making the trip to the supermarket, whether it’s because they are out of work, or trying to contribute to the household chores, more men than ever before are pushing the cart. In-store marketing strategies usually target women because they were previously seen as the dominant food shopping population, but this statistic is shifting.  Increasing the “machoness” of shopping cart duties while promoting healthy eating, not only makes men feel at ease in the sometimes overwhelming aisles of the grocery store, but also demonstrates that their local market has the customer’s best interest, health, in mind. 
 
Create quick reference cards or handouts that focus on healthy food choices for men. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men, and for many a change in diet can have huge preventative benefits.  Reference cards or handouts should include a list of healthy options such as dark leafy green vegetables, general fresh seasonal produce, whole grains, fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring, lean meat options and snacks like nuts and seeds. It should also include the aisles in which these healthy options can be found; making it as easy as possible for men to get in the store, navigate smoothly and get out, will make the shopping experience feel like a breeze. The effort to reverse the current obesity epidemic can not be fought alone and Americans need all of the support they can get. 
 
 
*NHANES is a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of   the United States population. The survey began in the 1960s and currently collects, updates and analyzes data yearly.