Is The War On Iraq Accelerating The War On Weight Control?

Harleysville, Pa. (March 27, 2003) -- Based on a recent survey of 1,028 Americans, conducted in March 2003 by The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), 34% of all U.S. consumers state they have gained weight during the first three months of 2003. “These startling facts further complement the concern about the obesity epidemic in America and point toward increased demand for weight control products,” states NMI president, Maryellen Molyneaux.

Furthermore, specific consumer groups are more likely to have gained weight, including an interesting geography observation, with 42% of consumers who live in the U.S. Pacific states stating weight gain. Whereby women are more likely than men to have gained weight, there is little difference across other demographics such as age or income.

In addition, 21% of all adult Americans state that they eat unhealthy foods more often than they used to, perhaps explaining, in part, some of the weight gain. These “unhealthy” eating patterns are up from a 16% level based on a similar NMI survey conducted in October 2002. Demographically, consumers living in south central U.S. and those with incomes under $50,000 are more likely to have increased their consumption of unhealthy foods. Middle-aged consumers (age 36-55) are less likely to have migrated to unhealthy foods, 26% of both younger consumers (age 35 and under) and older consumers (aged 55-plus) state they eat unhealthy foods more often.

Perhaps consumers are turning to “comfort foods” as global and economic situations become more severe, and eating for emotional well-being has become more relevant than health-based reasons.

“As Americans continue to struggle with healthy eating, it becomes clear that significant opportunities exist for the development of relevant and meaningful products and services to meet these compelling consumer needs, especially relating to weight management,” states Molyneaux. In addition, demographic opportunities exist to match the needs of specific segments of the population who appear to be struggling more than others.

The data from the survey of 1,000+ U.S. households was generated from NMI's proprietary consumer research vehicle, HealthBeat Interactive™ (HBI) --- based on a strategic alliance with Harris Interactive. To learn more about how you can customize your own proprietary questions, contact Steve French, NMI Managing Partner, at 215-713-5300 (ext. 214) or via e-mail to [email protected] or visit for more information.


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