Path to the Future

Ten Expectations for 2017 in Obesity, Food, and Health

The new year brings new expectations. Sure, we always have new diet, nutrition, and weight loss fashions. But, in thinking about obesity and health, we can also expect some more substantive changes. Here’s our top ten for 2017.

1. More “Less Added Sugar.” Already, the pressure to avoid sugar was on. Now, new labeling for added sugar will dial it up. We’ve got years of overcorrection coming. Washing down fat-free cookies with two liters of sugary soda calls for quite a bit of penance. After all, the low-fat nutrition fashion went on for almost three decades. Food companies are already taking away the sugar they added to things like yogurt. Years ago, they added it when they took the fat out.

2. Health Outcomes will be popping up in claims for obesity and diabetes treatments. Already, FDA has added one to the official empagliflozin (Jardiance) indications for type 2 diabetes. Liraglutide and semaglutide also have data to show a benefit. A major cardiovascular outcomes study for lorcaserin is headed toward completion by 2018.

3. Metabolic Surgery for people with type 2 diabetes and obesity is due for growth next year. Around the globe, 45 professional organizations have called for expanded use to put diabetes into remission.

4. Smarter Fitness Trackers will do a better job of engaging consumers for long-term use. Slowly, smartwatches and fitness bands are capturing more consumer wrists around the globe. But holding people’s attention is a little harder. Some of these gizmos are beautiful. Others are really smart. Still others are absolutely simple to use. None of them are all three, so they often wind up gathering dustSmarter designs will break through.

5. Diabetes Prevention will take hold on a big way now that CMS is gearing up to cover the DPP everywhere through the YMCA and other low-cost providers. Private sector health plans are following quickly.

6. Access to Care Fights are brewing with the plan to repeal and (maybe someday) replace Obamacare. Millions of people who might lose their health insurance include quite a few who are living with obesity.

7. Vegan-ish Diets are just about the hottest thing going. Not many people actually go full vegan. But it’s oh so trendy to say you’re shifting to a plant-based diet. So “vegan” slips off the tongues of many people who want to signal their virtue. Maybe the planet will benefit.

8. Cooking at home is putting a pinch on restaurants. Packaged meal kits are helping. As we move into 2017, the trend seems poised to accelerate.

9. Ethnic Flavors are hitting everyone’s list of hot food trends for 2017. Diverse millennial palates are making this trend stick. Bland American comfort foods are getting a kick from every continent.

10. Fitness Prescriptions will be a growing part of how your doctor helps you find your healthiest self. Everything you do – from just moving a bit all day, to building strength, to breaking a sweat – has a big impact on your health. Your brain, your heart, your entire body functions better when you keep it strong and moving. Those are just a few of the reasons that fitness is on its way to becoming a vital sign.

Path to the Future, photograph © Simon Matzinger / flickr

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January 1, 2017

7 Responses to “Ten Expectations for 2017 in Obesity, Food, and Health”

  1. January 01, 2017 at 9:46 am, Jaime Fivecoat said:

    Great article Ted, Thanks.

  2. January 01, 2017 at 11:01 am, Bennett Matthews said:

    Why the sneering tone about veganism? “Oh so trendy”? “Virtue signaling”? No. I am too old to care about being trendy but I have concerns about animal welfare. The people I know who have switched to a vegan or near vegan diet tend to keep quiet about it rather than signaling anything.

    • January 02, 2017 at 4:10 am, Ted said:

      Bennett, you have a point. The trendiness has more to do with people who talk about following a vegan diet without actually doing it. There’s nothing wrong with eating less meat and more plants. It’s a good choice.

  3. January 01, 2017 at 2:28 pm, Susan Burke March said:

    Feliz Año Nuevo, Ted! Regarding #1, do you think it’s going to come full-circle, and whole milk dairy will make a comeback?


    • January 02, 2017 at 4:19 am, Ted said:

      As a matter of fact, Susan, whole milk sales started climbing in 2014. I’m wondering if and when whole milk yogurt will start to be a thing. Whole Milk Sales

  4. January 02, 2017 at 1:08 pm, Kim@NutritionPro Consulting said:

    There are some interesting changes that will take place in the new year. I am especially encouraged by them. Hopefully this will help point people in the right direction to better health!

    • January 02, 2017 at 5:25 pm, Ted said:

      Expect surprises, too.