The end of one year and beginning of a new year always brings lists – the best of, the worst of, and trends for the new year. Rather than forecasting what Americans will be doing in 2013, here’s my wish list of trends to improve our health. These trends would help Americans eat smarter and move more and in the long run prevent about 1/3 of many cancers.
1. Patriotic Portion Sizes: Our nation spends more than $150 billion per year on health problems stemming from overweight and obesity. At restaurants, appropriate portion sizes and calorie levels promote healthier weight and we’d help balance America’s budget through health care cost savings. So the healthy choice would be the patriotic choice.
2. Standing Desks: Companies outfit all workstations with equipment that allows employees to stand a few hours every day. United States corporate culture means desk treadmills and walking meetings are the new normal. Everyone finds a way to be less sedentary.
3. Supersized Veggies: Supersizing your meal means extra greens or carrots or a large platter of veggies with your meal for just pennies more. Salad dressing or dip serving size though, remains small.
4. Inspirational Stairs: Buildings contain beautiful, airy and attractive stairwells in front of the elevators. Take the stairs and choose your music as you climb or enjoy art installations.
5. Non-caloric Beverages with Meals: Coffee, unsweetened tea or diet drinks come with your restaurant meal just like water. You want a sugary beverage? That’s extra.
6. Easy Bike-to-Work and Play: Communities large and small invest in safe, accessible and beautiful bicycle paths and trails so more people can easily pedal to work, shopping and just for fun.
7. Supermarkets Redesigned: As you push your cart through the grocery store you see whole grain breads, cereals and crackers, no salt added canned beans and veggies, and fruit canned in light juice at eye level and the end of the aisles. Produce, fresh meats and poultry, low fat and low sugar dairy items are easy to reach and prominently displayed. Sugary foods, highly processed foods and foods with lots of added calories are moved to the higher shelves, less visible and are very hard to reach.
8. Building Gyms: Every building – whether commercial or multi-family residential – has a roomy and attractive space for individuals or small groups to be physically active. Simple as that.
9. Healthy Sides: Would you like vegetables with that? The automatic side for a sandwich or burger is steamed veggies or a light green salad. If you want to substitute fries or chips, tack on an extra few bucks.
10. Walking Makes Sense: Pedestrian boulevards sweep the nation as the new trend for downtown shopping and to connect shopping malls and big box stores in the suburbs. Just keep your purchases in easy to push carts as you stroll from store to store.
What are healthy trends you’d like to see in 2013?