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The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new report saying that the reason that US citizens are fatter than ever is because they eat more than they ever have.

Women, in particular, are consuming on average 335 more calories per day than they did in 1971, from 1,542 calories per day to 1,877. Men are eating 168 more calories per day than they did in 1971, from 2,450 to 2,618. The federal government currently recommends the daily consumption of about 1,600 calories by active women and 2,200 by active men.

Small wonder that since 1971, the obesity rate in the US has more than doubled from 14.5 percent of US adults to 30.9 percent in 2000.

And according to the CDC, the calories are coming from carb-laden products such as breads, pastas, sweets, and sugared soft drinks.

One bit of health-related good news: Americans seem to be exercising more, even as the obesity rate is increasing.

Only a quarter of US adults surveyed said they did not exercise during their free time in 2002, down from 30 percent 15 years before.
KC's View:
The unwillingness - or perhaps inability - of the US supermarket industry to embrace the obesity issue as one where it can have a dramatic impact on the health of consumers, shrinking waistlines while building the bottom line, was driven home to us over the weekend when we got an email from one of our favorite stores.

"Send your favorite student or a loved one away from home a gift that shows you care," the email said. "This Care Package is chock full with great tastes & treats of home!" And what was it the $39.99 care package?

Chocolate chip cookies, butter toasted peanuts, cookie thins, a tub of penny candy, caramel corn, a box of microwave popcorn, squeez-it peanut putter, macaroni & cheese mix, pretzels, a box of hot chocolate, beef jerky and vitamin water.

Maybe they should have thrown in a prescription for Lipitor and a blood pressure gauge.

This marketing pitch ignored completely the well-known tendency for freshman college students to gain as much as 15 pounds the first year of college, since for the first time they often don't have parents setting parameters and monitoring their eating habits.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to come up with a care package that stressed healthier foods and a healthier lifestyle? Instead, we keep moving down the same old path in the same old direction.