Monday, October 16, 2006

An unsettling irony

  • Two out of five women and one out of five men would trade three to five years of their life to achieve their weight goals.
  • In 1970 the average age of a girl who started dieting was 14; by 1990 the average dieting age fell to 8.
  • Young girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of nuclear war, cancer, or losing their parents. (Shocking Statistics, from the University of Colorado website)

How do we wrap our minds around the stark reality that 826 million people in the world will go to bed hungry tonight while here in North America the diet industry is booming?

In the US alone, the diet industry is worth over $100 billion dollars, and that's per year! People are apparently willing to spend money—lots of it—to shed pounds, and the weight loss industry is laughing all the way to the bank.

It's not just the money—people go to absurd lengths to compensate for overeating or whatever else may cause one to be overweight— expensive diet pills and drinks, food and vitamin supplements, and even cosmetic surgery. And it's not just women and girls who diet or struggle with body image issues. Men are overweight and diet too. The sad thing is, there's a valid reason all this dieting. According to Stats Canada, in 1998, 47.9% of Canadians were overweight and "the estimated total direct cost of obesity in Canada in 1997 was more than 1.8 billion dollars." (from Contrast that scenario with this one: According to UNICEF, 30,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.” That is about 210,000 children each week, or just under 11 million children under five years of age, each year. (from It's an unsettling irony...