Lifestyle and Diet
The basic problem, as we see it, is a lethal mix of dietary confusion with an increasingly sedentary yet stressed lifestyle. Our diets and eating habits are highly imbalanced. Our stress levels are increasing, thereby undermining our ability to digest and utilize our foods properly. Our overall level of physical exercise is generally not enough to keep pace with what we eat and with the stresses we bear. In some cases these imbalances exist because we lack information about nutrition, stress, and exercise; but the overall problem is more likely the result of changing lifestyle patterns and the choices that result from these. For instance, as people take more sedentary jobs, increase their home TV viewing, and decrease their exercise, obesity is creeping across the nation's high-rises and office parks, accounting for about 300,000 US deaths each year.
Today, convenience" and "comfort" are the primary drivers of consumer food choices. We can now buy our "fresh" vegetables already peeled and cut up; our frozen or deli dinners ready to "pop in the microwave." The growing popularity of fast-food and restaurant fare has added to our diminishing control over our diets; many fast foods are excessively high in the things we don't need - like salt and saturated and trans fats - and low in the things we do - like vitamins and minerals. Because food preferences are generally learned, food companies using modern advertising can fuel our cravings for snack foods and fast foods and teach our children that the only fun is had in eating saturated fats (potato chips, french fries, and ice cream), sugars (cookies, candy, and soft drinks), and high-protein "meals" (burgers and milkshakes).