I think it would be safe to assume that most people understand the importance of exercise and eating some sort of healthy diet to maintain their overall health. I highly doubt anyone would argue that eating fast food, junk food, and sitting on the couch is actually the best way to stay healthy. If this is truly the case, then why is it so difficult for people to get in shape and stay in shape? What is so strong to pull the majority of the population the wrong way? And why isn’t it the other way around?
Imagine if everyone had a natural tendency to exercise and eat healthy foods, and the less they paid attention to exercise and diet the more they exercised, and the healthier their diets got? I see no reason why this couldn’t be the case if our society were structured differently. What if you were given tax breaks for keeping your blood cholesterol in a healthy range. What if you were given some sort of bonus for eating all your fruits and vegetables in a given week. And what if there was some sort of health savings plan that rewarded you for every 30 minutes of exercise you did. This could get the whole population healthy in a hurry. It would seem that the only real way to get people to take action always come down to the bottom line, money.
This obviously isn’t the case so we need to deal with the society we are currently living in. And make no mistake; this society is not designed to help you out at all when it comes to getting in shape and staying in shape. Food marketing, food laws, a lack of financial interest in exercising, and the quickening pace of society make personal health and staying in shape one of the biggest challenges in anyone’s life. It really seems like all the cards are stacked against you. Think of how often you are tempted to indulge in unhealthy foods in a day, and how little you are tempted to eat right and workout.
The amount of marketing and misinformation that we are exposed to in a day make it next to impossible for most people to really understand what to eat. Even people trained in nutrition still need to learn more than a university degree has to offer before they can start making truly informed choices about what to eat.
For starters most people in North America are faced with hundreds of food marketing messages every day. We are also faced with an unlimited number of food choices, most of which are not what I would consider healthy. The situation doesn’t get any better when you look to the government for help. Most government regulated health claims, and labeling claims are heavily lobbied for, and do more to confuse the end consumer than educate them.
So as far as food goes, you’re basically left on your own to figure out what you should and shouldn’t eat. To make a truly informed decision about food you would need to be educated in all of the following fields, basic nutrition, food processing, food marketing, food manufacturing, and the worst of all, government regulation of food. This is an impossible task for most, leaving you at the mercy of those who control each of these industries.
So where do you turn to for advice about what to eat? Certainly not the food industry, as their main goal is profit, not your health. The government? Nope, their hopelessly being lobbied and persuaded by industry to keep the profit mill churning along. At best you will get a cryptic message that never takes a stand one way or the other and ends up leaving the decision making and responsibility for your health squarely on your shoulders. All the while allowing the food industry to poke at you, and tease you and persuade you as much as possible to eat more of their greatest new products.
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