Traveling without Moving

10 Trends and Events to Watch in 2016

With 2015 receding into history, we already have a pretty clear picture of trends and events that will help define 2016 in obesity, fitness, and nutrition. Here are ten that stand out.

  1. Fitness Tracking. Samsung Gear S2 SmartwatchIn a global survey of 2,833 fitness professionals, the American College of Sports Medicine found that respondents expect wearable technology for fitness tracking to be the dominant trend of 2016. Innovation in this technology continues and and it’s defining new categories of consumer accessories. As consumer interest in fitness tracking grows, sales are growing for both versatile smartwatches (like the Apple watch) and specialized fitness trackers (like Fitbit).
  2. Dietary Guidelines. Due to be released in January, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are already drawing both praise and criticism. Congress has gotten into the act, budgeting $1 million for the National Academy of Medcine to a review the whole process for developing dietary guidelines. A food fight is entirely possible.
  3. Nutrition Labeling. Comments are now closed on the new format for the Nutrition Facts label that appears on virtually every food product and the final rules are expected in early 2015. Fights are smoldering about labeling for GMOs and regulating claims for what is healthy and natural.
  4. Vegetopia. Public health advocates have long been pushing vegetables as a means to better health outcomes. Interest in vegan and vegetarian styles of eating is growing. And the “flexitarian” diet that allows people to feel like they’re vegetarian — while they still eat some meat — has become a thing. Meat producers are fighting back, but public sentiment is not working in their favor.
  5. Healthy Fats. While nutrition experts are slugging it out over saturated fats, everyone is in love with healthy fats from fish, nuts, avocados, and a long list of other foods that are enjoying a surge in consumption.
  6. Down with Sugar. If Santa kept a list of bad foods, sugar would definitely be on it. Advice to cut it will be prominent in new dietary guidelines and added sugars are due to be called out on new Nutrition Facts labels.
  7. Health over Diets. Interest Over Time - DietsAmericans seem like they’re done with diets, opting for healthy lifestyles instead — or maybe the appearance of healthy lifestyles. This trend is putting intense pressure on Weight Watchers and other companies to adapt or perish. It might be a good thing, if the emphasis shifts from weight loss to healthy weight management.
  8. Improving Obesity Care. The number of physicians seeking board certification in obesity medicine is growing, an interdisciplinary certification in obesity and weight management is coming for allied health professionals, and access to care is improving.
  9. Body Positivity. Fat shaming is out and more demand for acceptance of diverse body shapes and sizes is emerging.
  10. Fast Fresh. While traditional fast food icon McDonald’s is still struggling, the concept of fast fresh food is flourishing. Chains like SweetGreens are cashing in. Consumer demand for eating fresh and convenient foods is also putting pressure on traditional processed food brands.

Hang on for the ride. The coming year will bring fascinating changes.

Traveling without Moving, photograph © Victor Bayon / flickr

Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.


December 30, 2015

4 Responses to “10 Trends and Events to Watch in 2016”

  1. December 30, 2015 at 8:11 am, Jaime Fivecoat said:

    Great list Ted and what an amazing evolution over what it would have been 10 years ago. Thanks for compiling it.

    • December 30, 2015 at 10:14 am, Ted said:

      Thanks, Jaime. I wish you all the best in 2016!

  2. January 07, 2016 at 7:54 pm, Tammy Beaumont said:

    Really good to see that I’m on the right path with a majority of the trends!
    Great list Ted!

    • January 07, 2016 at 8:48 pm, Ted said:

      Thanks, Tammy!