Americans’ Appetite for Diets and Healthy Living

It’s impossible to fight it, so why worry about it? Summer diets simply don’t exist, so you need to get ahead of it in March-April-May. What? Diet and get in shape for only three months to look good? Don’t let Jillian Michaels hear those words pass your lips. “This ain’t a trend, hobby, or fad boyfriend, it’s a life change.” Okay dokay!

We investigate diets, summer eating, and exercise in this month’s study conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs titled Americans Bring Healthy Eating To The Table This Summer. We asked, “Did you try to lose weight, or get in shape in preparation of the summer season?” and 45% of Americans say they have. But there are slackers amongst us with men (64%), 55+ (62%), and <$50K (65%) maintaining an unhealthy aversion towards getting in shape before Frankie & Annette’s “Beach Blanket Bingo” hits the shores across this great land.

Thankfully there are people watching out for us like Farmer Brown and Old MacDonald. Unlike the oil and gas czars who cutely slide gas prices up every summer because Americans hit the roads in droves, farmers and the agriculture community push their goods through stores at attractive prices all summer long, and Americans take advantage.

When asked, “Which of the following reasons may encourage people to eat healthier during summer months (select all that apply),” fresh fruits and vegetables easier/cheaper to buy (61%) lead the way with looking better in clothes (59%), and being more active with less heavy meals (55%). EIEIO, and thank you farmers across this great land because my waist line is growing by the minute, and in dire need of a nectarine or ten.

Tubbs and Crockett rocked the land of Miami Vice, but what rules the American canvas when it comes to vices we can do without this summer in an effort to get control of our healthy lifestyle? We wanted to know which vice gets in our way of living healthy this summer. Watching TV (13%) and grilling large meals (12%) were closely followed by eating longer (9%), holiday weekend eating/drinking (9%), drinking more alcoholic beverages (9%), and no TVs/sitting around/eating less (9%).

It seems simple, but I have flunked the healthy/exercise challenge every summer of my adulthood. I chalk it up to the effects of long winters, excitement to see the sun out all day long, enjoying friends-families-events across this great land, and any other diversion I can lever into an excuse to “live the dream” Will Ferrell’s way.

So what can marketers do to help Americans like myself have a fighting chance of getting fit and staying healthy? I think a quick and easy five-point plan which eliminates/mitigates these items from everyday summer living would certainly be a good start…

  • Too hot to exercise
  • Cold ones in reachable distance (non-alcoholic & alcoholic)
  • BBQ… anywhere… anytime…
  • Carnivals, not Car-knee-vall with Tom & Gisele
  • Vacations & Staycations