Wake up daily to our latest coverage of business done better, directly in your inbox.


Get your weekly dose of analysis on rising corporate activism.


The best of solutions journalism in the sustainability space, published monthly.

Select Newsletter

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy. You can opt out anytime.

Bill Roth headshot

Solutions To Our National Weight-Gain Crisis

By Bill Roth

We face a national health crisis because of our weight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that a third of our population is obese. Ford futurist Sheryl Connelly has reported on research that projects half of Generation Z (that generation born into the 21st Century) will be obese during their lifetime.

Weight gain is a national crisis that is creating more human suffering and premature death than acts of terrorism. Thirty-seven percent of us are either diabetic or in a pre-diabetic condition. Research is now linking our increased weight with our increased health risk due to high blood pressure, heart disease and cancers.

The economic ramification of our nation “lost in weight” is a tidal wave of health care costs that threatens bankruptcy of people and our health care system. The total cost of our national weight crisis is estimated at $5 trillion annually from increased health care costs, worker absenteeism and reduced productivity. That is almost twice our country’s annual federal tax revenues.

The boomer generation’s critical crossroad

The baby-boom generation is at the tip of the spear on our national weight-gain health crisis. Statistically, the boomer generation is the fattest generation, ever! The Census Bureau reports that 72 percent of boomer men and 67 percent of boomer women are overweight or obese. Weight gain places them at a critical crossroads that threatens their health, finances, joy for life, and their ability to be there for their children and grandchildren.

The Boomer Generation Diet

Our national weight crisis, and my own personal experience with unsustainable weigh gain, pushed me to use my economics and system thinking tools to find answers. My new book, "The Boomer Generation Diet," is the result. It is a story of hope and solutions. It pioneers a counterintuitive, but proven, path for achieving sustained weight loss based on having fun and living more.

Most importantly, it works. I have lost 30 pounds and have kept it off. I continue to lose a pound or two each month. I achieved this weight loss while still enjoying sunset happy hours most evenings. I lost weight while attending weekly neighborhood parties where I eat chocolate eclairs and other sinful indulgences. Most importantly, since I live for my next meal, I lost 30 pounds without going hungry.

The breakthrough that links fun and health solutions

Market research is very consistent in describing Americans as wanting it all. We want our products to cost less and mean more. We desire a life blessed with value and based on values.

This market research aligns with the issues mapping I conducted to identify the factors behind why dieting does not work. The statistics are compelling that diets that are based on denial are not sustained. A growing body of research points to dieting as a source of stress, and increased stress is a major driver behind weight gain! Diets and exercises that are not fun run into our brick wall of life expectations for having fun and our search for reduced stress.

My research found that the path to sustained weight loss is through best practices, versus recipes or metrics, that empower people to customize a weight loss path that reduces stress and enables fun. This path is sustainable because we eat food that we think tastes good that is, incidentally, good for us. It shifts the focus from measured workouts to playful exercise that burns calories. Most fundamentally it reduces stress by shifting the focus from performance to productive fun. Let’s face it: If getting on the scales could deliver sustained weight loss, we would all be fashion model thin, and I would be a bald Ryan Gosling look-alike.

My expanded mission

I now have a new quest. Aligned with my efforts to introduce sustainability to businesses, I now will be posting articles on emerging research and best practices for losing weight and adopting a healthier, sustainable lifestyle.

There is a link between these two missions. Global warming and human weight gain are two 21st-century mega trends that threaten our lives and economy. Sustainable best practices are the answers to both of these challenges. A key breakthrough in my research on weight gain was when I linked green team tools I used in coaching business owners with the best practices surfacing around successful weight loss. My expanded effort will be searching for, and reporting on, the sustainable best practices that enable weight loss, fun and living more.

Image credit: Bill Roth

Bill Roth headshot

Bill Roth is a cleantech business pioneer having led teams that developed the first hydrogen fueled Prius and a utility scale, non-thermal solar power plant. Using his CEO and senior officer experiences, Roth has coached hundreds of CEOs and business owners on how to develop and implement projects that win customers and cut costs while reducing environmental impacts. As a professional economist, Roth has written numerous books including his best selling The Secret Green Sauce (available on Amazon) that profiles proven sustainable best practices in pricing, marketing and operations. His most recent book, The Boomer Generation Diet (available on Amazon) profiles his humorous personal story on how he used sustainable best practices to lose 40 pounds and still enjoy Happy Hour!

Read more stories by Bill Roth