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(Washington, D.C., May 23, 2012) – Most Americans (52 percent) have concluded that figuring out their income taxes is easier than knowing what they should and shouldn’t eat to be healthier, according to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2012 Food & Health Survey.
The Survey found that people think a great deal about the healthfulness of their diets and want to make improvements. Yet, 76 percent agree that ever-changing nutritional guidance makes it hard to know what to believe. And when it comes to making decisions about food, consumers today rely most often on their own research rather than third-party experts. Six out of 10 Americans have given a lot of thought to the foods and beverages they consume (58 percent) and the amount of physical activity they get (61 percent). Yet, only 20 percent say their diet is very healthful and 23 percent describe their diet as extremely or very unhealthful; less than 20 percent meet the national Physical Activity Guidelines.
“This year’s Survey was designed to reveal consumer behavior, not just thoughts and desires. Clearly, there is a disconnect for many Americans,” said Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA, Senior Vice President, Nutrition and Food Safety, IFIC Foundation. “Some questions also reveal clear differences based on gender and age. For example, men feel it is harder to eat a healthful diet than to find time to exercise, while women feel just the opposite. The percentage of older respondents who say their diet is very or extremely healthful is about twice the rate of younger people. These are important distinctions for health professionals and others who are trying to help individuals and families improve their diet and health.”
The IFIC Foundation’s 2012 Food & Health Survey found that 90 percent of Americans have given at least a little thought to the ingredients in their food and beverages. Consumers say they are trying to eat more whole grains, fiber and protein, while cutting calories, sugar, solid fats and salt. However, taste (87 percent) remains the most significant determinant of food and beverage choices, followed by price, which dropped significantly as a factor compared to 2011, and healthfulness. In terms of trying to lead healthier lives, nearly 60 percent of Americans believe that online and mobile tools are helpful.
The Survey was fielded by Mathew Greenwald & Associates of Washington, D.C. between April 3 and 13, 2012 and involved 1,057 Americans ages 18 to 80. Results were weighted to match the U.S. Census based on age, education, gender, race/ethnicity, and region to be nationally representative.
Additional Findings from the IFIC Foundation’s 2012 Food & Health Survey
For a copy of the IFIC Foundation’s 2012 Food & Health Survey Executive Summary and other resources for journalists and bloggers, please visit the IFIC Foundation’s Media Resource Page. The full data tables are available for purchase from the IFIC Foundation Publications Store at www.foodinsight.org or by contacting the IFIC Foundation media team at 202-296-6540 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more on the International Food Information Council Foundation, its resources or any other questions, please contact the IFIC Foundation media team at 202-296-6540, Cohen@ific.org or Matthews@ific.org.