With two-thirds of American adults and one-third of our children either overweight or obese, it is clear that the regulations, strategies, and tactics deployed to reverse this albatross have been ineffective. What has dumbfounded me is that we rarely ask the following question: why has nothing worked?
So far, too much emphasis has been given to "being right" rather than fixing the problem. A "my way or the highway" mentality prevails. Many blame the food marketers for pushing junk foods. Others hold consumers responsible for not eating well or exercising. While each of these arguments has merit, neither camp has served up any lasting solutions.
We have spent countless years defending status quo positions or demonizing others for perpetuating obesity, but have overlooked the most basic aspect of the combatants—that is, their wiring. By this, I mean that we have not considered the core personality type of each entity that is a player in this ongoing obesity drama.
Why would this matter? Because each party involved in shaping America's obesity problem views the situation through a different lens. This is why the one-size-fits-all approaches that have been prevalent fall flat. Once we finally unlock the psyches of grocers, restaurateurs, packaged goods marketers, health advocates and activists, nutritionists, and consumers, we become privy to their motivations and limitations. When we understand what makes each party tick, we gain the knowledge to effect real, constructive change.