Changing the Face of Normal

When you read about the obesity epidemic in America, countless researchers refer to the obesogenic diet and culture.  We grew up with it in the 80’s and 90’s.  The Western Diet, and per Wikipedia also called the “meat-sweet” diet.


You may remember it as the culture of packaged easy grab foods void of veggies. Breakfast became dry cereals and toasted pastries, and even fruits gave way to chewy rollups. The only thing that resembled real food was some form of meat or meat substitute often piled on sandwiches or subs.  And the busy lifestyle created a culture habit of snacking and grazing.  Chips and crackers became free foods to grab at will.  This was the Western Diet at its worst.  It impacted children and parents.

We combined it with a lifestyle of sitting; Parents and children took their seat for work, travel, school, computers, and gaming.


The result: An increase in Obesity and Diabetes of Epidemic proportions.


  • Rate of Obesity in Adults Tripled. More than 2/3 of Adults are now overweight or obese. This statistic is predicted to rise.
  • Over 30% of our Children are predicted to develop Type II Diabetes in their lifetime.
  • For minorities born in America the picture is even worse: a Hispanic girl today has a 50% lifetime risk of Developing Type II.


The rise in these current numbers are predicted by the staggering increase in children already beginning to display the health issues that can put them at the greatest risk of becoming an adult statistic.


  • The number of Children with obesity has tripled in the past 30 years. 1 in 3 children age 2-19 are already Overweight (>85% BMI) or Obese(>95% BMI).
  • The associated illnesses, of Type II Diabetes, Hypertension, Sleep Apnea, and Fatty Liver, previously only seen in adults, is impacting children as early as adolescence.


We don’t know what this early onset of “adult” diseases will hold.  This will impact our future.  The medical burden that these children are at risk for is only beginning to become apparent. Dr. David Ludwig at Harvard University sums up his perspective in an article he published in the New England Journal of Medicine.


In 2011 the New England Journal of Medicine published a review of 3 large studies following over 120,000 men and women for 25 years; the primary nutrition factors associated with weight gain were amount potatoes chips, fries, processed meats, added sugars, and sugar drinks consumed.[1]  All part of the “normal” Western Diet that many naively embraced from 1975 to 2000.


I am hoping that the great American experiment to see what happens when we eat processed foods, drink sugar drinks, and sit is finally over.

[1] Mozaffarian, D., Hoa, T., Rimm, E. B., Willett, W. C., & Hu, F. B. (2011). Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long- Term Weight Gain in Women and Men.