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What Trends Will Shift Our "Too Big" Mentality Towards a Healthier Population

We're dying of consumption. The disease has reached pandemic proportions. While its prevalence is universally recognized, there is disagreement on how to treat it and the toll it will take. Among the afflicted, a sizable minority contends it poses no threat and needs no treatment.

Not only do they claim to live contentedly with their condition, they resent attempts to cure them and lash out at those who claim they represent a threat to society.

Nevertheless, most who have this strain of TB 2010 would like to be cured. Its prevalence has created a physical and psychological crisis contributing to the breakdown of a national health care system that is simultaneously the most expensive and one of the least efficient among the advanced nations. Until the TB pandemic is brought under control, any attempt to reform America’s health care system is destined to fail.

Yet, health care reform debate in America almost never addresses the TB factor. The politically correct are unwilling to offend. Many of the afflicted resist any outside attempts to change their habits. Industries devoted to spreading TB deflect and subvert any measures that might decrease profits. And the politically corrupt turn a blind eye to the crisis, promoting TB-favoring legislation in return for campaign contributions.

Needless to say, the TB 2010 strain we refer to is not “Tuberculosis.” Rather, it is “Too Big.” And “consumption” does not mean “a common and often deadly infectious disease caused by myco-bac-teria,” but “over consumption”: the consuming of fattening, processed, chemically-laced, genetically modified, hormone enhanced, nutrition-deficient “food” and the drinking of sugar-laden, nutrition-deficient, liquid chemical concoctions disguised as “soft drinks” … in quantities far beyond what the human body is designed to handle.

Since there is nothing “correct” about anything political, the all-too-visible fact is that too many Americans are simply too fat, and therefore simply unhealthier than the populations of other developed nations. It is a self-reinforcing calamity. The Too Big too often lack the will to personally deal with their problem; the processing/agribiz giants profiting from the junk food habit have little incentive to try to sweet talk addicts into lean health, and politicians beholden to agribiz for hefty campaign contributions do not find it expedient to bite the hand that overfeeds them so well.

Fat Facts

Fully a third of adult Americans are obese, twice the rate of obesity in Europe. (Should the trend continue, by 2018, 43 percent of adult Americans will be obese.) Another third of Americans are overweight. Thus, two-thirds of adult Americans are too big. More than one-third of children ages 10 to 17 are obese (16.4 percent) or overweight (18.2 percent), which, left “untreated,” could make them the first generation to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents.

A sure-fire prescription for disease and ill health, obesity is also incredibly expensive. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer and twelve of the fifteen most dol-lar-intensive diseases are strongly attributable to obesity. Health economists estimate that upwards of 25 percent of America’s health care costs are related to obesity, accounting for 20 to 30 percent of the rise in spending on health care since 1979.

Currently, it costs 36 percent more to provide medical care, and 77 percent more to provide medication to an obese person than to a “normal weight” person — and the whole system pays for it.

A backlash, leading to a “Coalition of the Fit to Fight Fat,” is not inconceivable. People who work diligently to maintain their weight and their health pay dearly for those who are negligent. Just as large numbers of Americans are outraged at the idea of their tax dollars being expended on health care for illegals, it is plausible that a time may come when the idea of tax dollars being spent on people who refuse to look after their own health provokes analogous outrage.

If the TB trend continues, the Center for Disease Control projects that costs connected to obesity and overweight will more than double every ten years, totaling more than $900 billion by 2030 and swallowing up one in every six health care dollars. “American society has become “obesogenic,” says the CDC, describing an environment that “promotes increased food intake, non-healthful foods, and physical inactivity.”

Baby Steps

No longer able to hide from the obesity epidemic nor face the consequences of sustaining a chronically ill population with ever-increasing health care costs, many states are enacting some form of health care legislation. Aimed at staunching the growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes in children, as well as increased rates of high blood pressure, cholesterol, asthma and joint problems … the majority of these laws target the school environment. Soft drink and junk food vending machines in schools and hospitals would have been unthinkable 40 years ago. But in the quest to boost budgets it became public policy to permit them.

Now, counter-initiatives have been taken: nutritional and physical education programs have been added to the curriculum and the offending machines banned. Too little and much too late, at best these are baby steps. Outside schools — at every digital moment, on every screen, in every mall on every strip, the need to feed and ride the sugar high is inescapable. The onslaught of advertising is designed to turn kids into over-consumers … destined to become victims of over-consumption.

No longer able to support the financial strain, in the not-so-distant future, federal and state governments will launch a “War to Fight Fat” and appoint an Obesity Czar. But just as the wars on drugs, crime, poverty and Afghanistan have been, at their best, conditional rather than unconditional de-and subservient industry-controlled opposing force it has always been.

Trend Forecast: We forecast a mass rethinking of TB in all its manifestations -- obesity is only the most obvious. Everything in America is TB -- not just the waistlines, giant sodas, super-sized fries and ten-gallon cartons of popcorn. Houses, cars, debt loads, deficits, state budgets, the states themselves, foreign aid, military budgets, local/state/federal bureaucracies and “too big to fail” businesses --they’re all Too Big.

We see a rapidly growing popular culture shift that will make fat un-cool. A combination of increasing health awareness and the trend to Elegance will help motivate the out-of-shape into shaping up or not fitting in.

Although it’s been going on for decades, as the lose-weight-at-any-cost craze catches hold, a new round of infomercials, multi-level marketers and medical pill-pushers will be hawking a new generation of shady, quick-fix diet products. Dieter beware! The unwanted pounds did not accumulate in a week and they won’t be shed overnight. If it’s a quick fix it won’t fix for long.

Trendpost: The “Shape Up” trend will provide a wide array of business opportunities. Beyond popular reality TV weight loss shows, the market for custom-designed cooking and diet programming for the specific age groups, shapes and sizes is wide open and ready to be tapped. New weight loss products, books, DVDs, kiddy camps, support programs, multi-level marketing (pyramid schemes) will proliferate.

As with so many American cultural exports, Too Big has spread worldwide. Some countries, such as France, undeterred by Big Food
political clout and unafraid to call the obese “fat,” are fighting fat before it becomes pandemic.

Apart from government action, the “Shape Up” trend will provide a wide array of business opportunities. Fat Farms will flourish for the financially flush who will pay big bucks to starve in style.

But for the starving masses, hooked on their junk diets, going cold turkey from fried chicken will call for common sense as well as intestinal fortitude. Fast food pushers have sold them the bill of goods that eating out is easier, cheaper and just as good as cooking at home.

Back in the Great Depression, the poor were not fitting in. thin and the rich were caricatured as fat. In the “Greatest Depression,” the rich will tend to be fit and the poor fat, but it will be politically incorrect to caricature them.

Fitness clubs that provide “personal weight loss trainers” will attract members that otherwise would not join. The trend will open up job opportunities for individual counselors and coaches that provide specialized weight loss exercise classes targeted to specific needs (elderly, teens, excessively overweight, etc.).

Permanent weight loss takes hard work and dedication. Whole Health Healers specializing in natural weight loss management will outflank traditional MDs whose answer to TB, as to most ailments, will be to prescribe pharmaceutical drugs. But just as there are no drugs on the market that cure chronic degenerative diseases, there will be no miracle drug to cure chronic obesity. While some will provide temporary results, the side affects may prove more destructive than the malady.

Unless TB 2010 is addressed and reversed, no comprehensive, sustainable and affordable health care system is possible.

The Trends Research Institute analyzes world-shaping events and forecasts tomorrows trends. Gerald Celente is on the record for accurately forecasting and naming the current "Great Recession"; for forecasting the 1987 Stock Market Crash, the Dot-com bust, Gold Bull Run to Begin, 2001 Recession, the Real Estate bubble, the "Panic of '08", Tax Revolts and the coming "Greatest Depression".

January 18, 2010

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