Consumer Marketing and Obesity

A new study by the Hudson Institute has evaluated the links between obesity and consumer marketing. The study was the first to investigate the differences in attitudes towards eating, healthy living habits, mindsets, and food buying behaviors in people with obesity and those with normal weight.

Important findings of the study: 62% of people with obesity state they “know they should eat healthier, but don’t.” Taste is the most crucial factor in food choices for people with obesity. About a third of people with obesity rated “health & nutrition” as an important attribute when making food purchasing decisions. Sixty percent of people with obesity have no plans to cut down on soda and snacks, but they want smaller portions. People with obesity tend not to read nutrition labels.

So, what is the take home message of this study?

We know that obesity is a chronic disease, and many people struggle with their weight. There are many new treatments including antiobesity medications, structured meal plans and even weight loss surgery. But diet and nutrition will always be a critical element to weight loss. Do not focus on the taste of the food. Make food choices based on healthy foods that are filling and satisfying. Try not to be impulsive or emotional when making food choices. Instead, plan your meals out in advance and stick to your plan. Have extra healthy food available always to eat whenever you are hungry. The odds are your healthy snacks will have fewer calories than the other snack options if you need to eat quickly. Examine nutrition labels and keep a food log. If you are struggling at losing weight and keeping it off, you could have a hormonal disorder such as a thyroid disorder, adrenal disorder, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or Cushing’s Syndrome.