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Press release from:


Directors, Carol Munter and Jane Hirschmann

Re: Dr. Koop's Shape Up America! Campaign

Shape up America? Haven't we been living with that campaign for decades now? We've heard all the suggestions. We've made endless resolutions to eat less and exercise more. What have the results been?

  • A nation more food phobic and fat phobic than ever before.

  • A drastic rise (54% since the '60s) in childhood obesity—27% of today's children aged 6-11 are obese.

  • 1 out of 200 girls aged 12–18 are anorexic.

  • On any given day, 48 million Americans are dieting.

  • In 1970, there was a $10 billion diet industry; in 1994, it's a $33 billion industry.

  • Millions of us have become driven, compulsive eaters.

Now we're to be subjected to an advanced Shape Up Campaign with consumer materials, ongoing advertising, TV specials, books, videos, newsletters and most importantly "retail tie-in programs." What's new in Dr. Koop's proposal? Absolutely nothing. Shape Up America is a government sponsored diet program backed by the likes of Weight Watchers International and the Heinz Foundation. (Watch what you're eating, government is watching.) Each sponsor will give a million dollars to the campaign and make how much back?

Wake up America! We don't need anyone to tell us when, what, or how much to eat. Or how to move our bodies. Or how to look. We are not suffering from a lack of information. We have complied with all the rules, all the diets, over and over again, and to what end? We've become a nation of food junkies. When 95% of dieters regain their lost weight plus some, where's the problem? With the dieter or the diet? It's time to take the evidence seriously and say, "No more."

Diets—no matter how cleverly disguised or how few pounds they tell us to lose—never work. Human beings hate scarcity; we particularly hate being told that we're unacceptable the way we are. We become sullen, depressed, and stubborn. What does work to improve physical and mental well-being? Swearing off diets and body hatred forever. And what do we do after we say, "No more?" We undo the considerable damage caused by dieting, namely compulsive eating, by relearning how to eat from the inside out—internal regulation as opposed to external regulation. In other words, we take charge.

We're absolutely in favor of Americans working to improve their physical and mental health. That's why The National Center for Overcoming Overeating is launching The Women's Campaign to End Body Hatred and Dieting. Let's come together a year from now and see who's in better shape—the draftees of the Shape Up America crusade, or all those women who are going to swear off body hatred and dieting forever!

The National Center for Overcoming Overeating is an organization committed to ending body hatred and dieting. It is headquartered in New York with offices in Chicago, Houston and New England. The Center was organized in 1989 by Carol Munter and Jane Hirschmann, authors of Overcoming Overeating, When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies (Fawcett, March, 1995), and Preventing Childhood Eating Problems (Hirschmann/Zaphiropoulos, Gürze Books).

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