In 2005 food consumption was up 16% since 1970. I believe food consumption should be flat meaning that one person eats the same amount over time. If anything, food consumption goes down very slightly as you get beyond middle age and your caloric requirements decrease.
The average person (not a growing child) does not normally eat more one day than the next unless it’s a special occasion (birthday party, the holidays, the superbowl, etc). I’m guilty of eating too much cake at birthday parties too. But in general, the only way to consume more would be to enlarge your stomach (pretty hard to do unless you gain weight).
The food companies know they are battling it out for their “share of stomach.” They compete with fast food restaurants and other establishments to get a part of your daily food intake. They know it’s finite (you can only eat so much). All food companies use advertising to increase demand of their products. If you see a billboard for fries and you are hungry, you will be more likely to “splurge” and go through a drive-thru for fries…and then you might as well get that coke too. Food companies will deny it, but they basically have an incentive to make you fat.
School food companies don’t have an incentive to make you eat more since that doesn’t increase their bottom line. From what I can tell, school food companies just want to feed school children and stay within nutritional guidelines and their limited budgets. School food companies aren’t making anywhere near the kind of money that regular food companies and fast food companies make. However, school food companies play right into the hands of the big food companies and fast food vendors by feeding kids processed foods.
If we could lessen the offering of processed foods (hot dogs, chicken nuggets, pizza), introduce salad bars in every school, continue to offer fresh fruit in place of cups, jello, bars, stop serving pizza or nachos every day, and stop conceptualizing “french fries” as veggies, we’d be off to a great start. Then we could follow-up with nutrition education and recess for all. We can’t just pave the way from the schoolyard to the closest fast food joint. We’re doing children a disservice. Our life expectancy is falling. The time to act is now. We can’t afford to wait. Make a difference at your school.