Portion Balance is the new term in town. What does it mean? A food ecosystem where at every eating occasion, everyone desires and is able to choose and enjoy balanced food portions in support of a healthy lifestyle. Admittedly this is idealistic but it does describe the perfect food environment we all want and should be supported in achieving.
It is a world of balanced meals of just right portions served up on perfectly sized dishes in a room designed to help you sit down, slow down, and enjoy your meal. Honestly, in order for us to live healthier lives we will need to change our food environment. Nothing else has worked because until we right size the food we eat we will not be able to move the needle on the obesity epidemic.
The shocking statistics present us with some grim facts. Since 2000 the overall obesity rate for adults has increased from 30.5% to 42.4% in 2018. For those considered severely obese the rate has more than doubled in the same time frame from 4.7% to 9.2%, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Now with the global pandemic most scientists are predicting even higher increases of obesity for adults and children. Obesity directly affects our health and fuels health issues like diabetes, heart disease, multiple forms of cancer, as well as other diseases, which are all the leading causes of death. It is evident we have to find better ways to help people succeed in living a healthier life. We have to find a better solution than those we have tried and that have clearly failed.
There is a group that has been created called the Portion Balance Coalition that is made up of large corporations and organizations producing our foods and beverages as well as monitoring them for the public good. It is a group that is broad and diverse that has come together to tackle the issue of obesity through portion control. It includes Nestlé, PepsiCo, the American Beverage Association, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the American Heart Association, and several others. These businesses have the power to move the needle for better health.
We as individuals also have an important role to play. We can work on creating a healthier food environment in our own home using the tools and information available to help us. We can also reach out to corporations and organizations to ask them to help change the quality of food and obscene quantities of food that are marketed to us through ads, packaged goods, restaurants and schools. Until we demand a change we will be faced with battling obesity and its health consequences in our lives and the lives of the ones we care about.