In 2009, Kate Moss said “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”

In 1964, our Surgeon General said, smoking is bad for you. This was released when about 50% of all adults smoked. Now, in NYC, only about 12% of adults smoke. 46 years later.

Which one has the most influence over people? Pop culture vs. the surgeon general?

The issue of obesity is much, much more complicated than smoking. Smoking is one addictive behavior. Obesity is an entire ecosystem around you– your neighborhood, your means of transport, your corner store, your supermarket, your family, your culture, your attitude toward exercise, our media’s attitude toward skinny and overweight, our retail stores gradually increasing the measurements of a size to make us feel we’re not gaining weight, etc..

There is no quick fix to obesity.

So what does “quick” mean? In the world of smoking, quick meant 46 years to see a 38% decrease in a city with a very progressive, multi-factorial anti-smoking campaign. Regarding obesity, en masse behavior change takes generations. Just in the past decade, we’ve gotten the obesity conversation started. Hopefully, in 50 years and about the time I die, we’ll have seen a 38% decrease in obesity. 

It’s just important to have some perspective and keep the conversation, awareness, and inspiration going.