"Stupid is as stupid does." It's a sorry day indeed when the intentionally simple Forrest Gump has the wood on the average New Zealander. To translate: we know we are doing wrong, but we continue anyway.
The biggest snapshot of our eating habits in 10 years - the Bayer Food Focus Survey - today has us bang to rights with evidence of our antithetical appetite. We all are well-versed on what we should eat, and how to prepare it, but precious few bother.
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The online survey of 1346 people, chosen to reflect New Zealand's gender, age, area and ethnic mix, found only about half of us are eating the recommended minimum of five fruit and vegetables a day.
Most survey respondents said they knew how to prepare a healthy meal but a third said they were too busy. The younger they were, the busier they said they were. Half said healthy food was too expensive, and the proportion saying that grew among the young, Māori, Pasifika and Asian respondents.
Most (62 per cent) know there are foods they should eat more of and nearly all (94 per cent) reckon they know how to prepare a healthy meal, but the data shows that when we buy, taste (82 per cent) is king, followed by price with healthfulness trailing way behind.
For the too-numerous takeaways tragics among us, here are a few more takeaways:
• Our obesity rates have trebled since the 1970s, with almost one in three adults obese and a further third overweight
• Nearly a quarter of Kiwis have total cholesterol levels higher than 6.5 mmol/L - yet doctors say below 5 is best
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• More than 2300 Kiwis have become amputees in the past four years due to diabetes
• Almost a third of breast cancers could be prevented by making lifestyle changes, including eating a plant-based diet and exercising regularly.
As taxpayers, this is costing all of us to deal with and the Government is having to intervene to dampen our appetite for destruction with a clampdown on advertising .
It's time we got the gumption to take some advice from the aforementioned blockbuster movie when tempted with a platter of fried chicken or cheeseburger combo: "Run, Forrest, run!"