Seriously? I got this ad in my mail several days ago from a national pizza chain whose name is the same as a popular game played using tiles with varying numbers of spots on them.

If there's one thing that isn't happening in this country it's that people are not eating enough cheese. Consider this graph of yearly cheese consumption from 1985 to 2010 with a projection through 2020.

The only encouraging thing I can see in this chart is its optimistic belief that in eight more years we'll only be eating an additional 1.6 pounds per person per year. The trend seems to be that every 5 years we add between 1.5 (2005-2010) and 2.9 (1995-2000) pounds of cheese per person to our diet. The bad news is that overall cheese consumption has increased 10.8 pounds (48%) per person from 1985-2010. While that may be good for the dairy industry, the effects on our nation's health appear to be disasterous.

Consider this data from the Centers for Disease Control's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for the same period. and it becomes pretty clear that as cheese consumption has increased so has obesity.

 

 

Of the 45 states participating in the BRFSS in 1990, 10 states had a prevalence of obesity less than 10% and no state had a prevalence equal to or greater than 15%. By 2010, this had changed dramatically and now there is no state that has a prevalence of obesity as low as 20% with 36 states having a prevalence greater than or equal to 25% and 12 states with obesity rates of 30% or more.

And the situation may be far worse. Data for the BRFSS is collected through telephone interviews with U.S. adults where height and weight data are self-reported. How many of us are likely to be brutally honest about our weight with a total stranger on the telephone?

In 2008, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. And that's higher than the increased medical costs for smokers versus non-smokers!

Now, I know that correlation and causation are different things. All I'm saying is there's good reason to think that none of us is being "undercheesed".