What’s Your Health Reality? 2014 Food and Health Survey on the Path to Dietary Behavior Change

Contact Info: 
Matt Raymond at (202) 296-6540 or raymond@ific.org



What’s Your Health Reality?

2014 Food and Health Survey Paints Varying Portraits of Consumers on the Path to Dietary Behavior Change

(Washington, D.C., October 6, 2014) — Have you ever wondered how your health and nutrition stack up against your friends, family, and neighbors—or how certain traits make them more likely to take more healthful actions? If your eating and health behaviors were part of a TV reality show, what kind of contestant would you be: an American Health Idol, a Health Apprentice, or a Health Survivor? And if you wanted to step up your health game, what actions would you take?

According to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2014 Food and Health Survey, consumers can be categorized into three main groups – each with distinct demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal profiles – according to their progress toward behavior change.

1. Health Survivors: Those who did not report making any dietary changes, but may be thinking about it.

  • Although a small fraction of consumers (7%) were not engaged in any of the behaviors addressed in the Survey, many of them reported thinking at least a little about the healthfulness of the foods and beverages they consume.
  • Consumers in this group are younger on average and the least likely to be doing anything regarding their weight or plan ahead for meals.

2. Health Apprentices: Those starting to make at least one dietary change in their lives within the past year.

  • At 57%, the Apprentices comprised the largest group.
  • Americans who are actively making changes are the most likely to be trying to lose weight and believe an advertised health benefit.

3.  American Health Idols: Those who have maintained dietary changes for more than a year.

  • More than a third (36%) of Americans fall into the Idols group.
  • Idols are older on average, highly influenced by the healthfulness of their food, use nutrition information when eating out and most likely to describe their health as excellent or very good.

The Survey asked consumers about their progress toward adopting ten recommended behaviors from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Considering the majority of consumers reported changing at least one behavior, this may be an indicator that health professionals are making strides to empower Americans towards more healthful diets.

The full profile results and additional media resources can be found here. Based on several distinct group characteristics, the IFIC Foundation is offering a rapid quiz to suggest what stage of health behavior change users are in. The questions and scoring are based on distinguishing percentage differences that reach statistical significance between the groups. Users can take the quiz on the FoodInsight Facebook page or website, share, and compare with the Survey results. Users taking the quiz will also be able to find out more about their profile, get a few quick tips on improving their habits, and let Food Insight know if the profile accurately describes them or not.

Health professionals who work with groups that represent a wide variety of profiles will also be able to gain insights to tips for using the behavior change profiles in their work, along with some of the demographic findings.

“Though we wouldn’t recommend generalizing across these groups,” Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA, the IFIC Foundation’s senior vice president of nutrition and food safety, pointed out, “this type of data can be very useful for individual counseling and initial community health planning. The results may be a reality check for some assumptions regarding consumers and behavior change.”

Check out the quiz and behavior change resources, and join the October 28 webinar to learn more about how behavior change profiles can be a helpful barometer for personal behavior change.


For interview requests and any other questions, please contact the IFIC Foundation media team at 202-296-6540, Raymond@ific.org.

The International Food Information Council Foundation is dedicated to the mission of effectively communicating science-based information on health, food safety and nutrition for the public good. The IFIC Foundation is supported primarily by the broad-based food, beverage and agricultural industries. Visit http://www.foodinsight.org.