Before dinner last night, I went to buy some milk and bread at the supermarket.
The bread is at the back of aisle 14 and the shortest checkout line was in front of aisle 8.
In the walk between bread and checkout, I saw something I find very difficult to process.
There are thousands of studies now that highlight the shocking state of our collective health. To simplify it, I just apply the statistics to 100 people at random. This is what the world looks like in 2013.
At Sessions, we see every day the cost this incurs on people — emotional, physical, spiritual and financial.
To put it bluntly, we’re in a state of emergency.
We are facing an historically unprecedented health challenge.
This is my local supermarket.
At the checkout.
If you said to me, go and design a Diabetes store, I would just take you to the supermarket.
But it gets even crazier.
Because after you’ve been eye-blasted with big soda, big chocolate, chips, lollies, little soda and little chocolate, guess what else you can buy?
That’s right! A magazine about people who are slightly overweight.
But. If that’s not enough for you, what about this?
Not just slightly overweight bodies… but freaky bodies!
But, never fear.
It’s not all just shocking headlines in the glossies. There’s some more sober approaches here too…
For those looking for a slightly more educational read, why not try Diabetic Living?
That’s right, the best thing to buy after you’ve hit up big soda, big chocolate, chips, lollies, little soda and little chocolate is a magazine about diabetes!
Or how about a magazine about preventative health?
While you’re having some Wonka chocolate, a packet of BBQ Smiths and a glass of Sunkist before dinner, you can read all about:
- Shrinking your fat zones.
- Flat belly meals.
- Loving your lower half.
- Anti-ageing your heart!
The one photo that I couldn’t take, was the saddest of all.
It was the teenage checkout attendant. Not yet an adult, already very much obese.
What hope does she have of reversing whatever trend she’s currently riding?
What hope does her heart, her liver, her nervous system have of EVER being healthy?
1 in 100? 1000?
And how complicit are we all?
Consumers voting with their feet by buying this stuff. Food companies continuing to make it. Marketers doing everything they can to help sell it. TV, Radio, print and web businesses promoting it through ads. Supermarkets trying to get us to fill our trolleys with it. Governments refusing to regulate it.
Imagine if 65% of the population had a gambling problem and we let banks put pokies inside ATMs.
How, in the face of an unprecedented healthcare crisis, can we accept a world where the same place that is trying to force feed you diabetes and obesity is also selling you magazines to help you deal with those things?
This is one of those moments in history that future generations will look back on with shame, anger and utter, utter bewilderment.
Update: 9:30pm, August 25 — This post is approaching 1MM views and the response to it has blown me away. I’ve had hundreds emails, tweets and comments and in the interests of clarity, I’ve tried to address them in a post you can read over on the Sessions blog.