Weight Loss is Primary Health Concern for Americans

According to the annual food study produced by the International Food Council, 70 percent of Americans say they are concerned about their weight status, and an overwhelming majority (77 percent) are trying to lose or maintain their weight.

These findings are part of the International Food Information Council Foundation’s fifth annual Food & Health Survey, which takes an extensive look at Americans’ eating, health and physical activity habits, as well as food safety practices.

“Americans are hearing about the importance of weight to their health from a variety of sources, and it appears to be driving healthful changes in their lives,” says Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA, Senior Vice President, Nutrition and Food Safety at the International Food Information Council Foundation.

The survey produced additional eye-opening insights into Americans’ basic understanding of nutrition and their day-to-day lifestyle behaviors.

Here a few highlights of the survey:

  • 60 percent engage in physical activity, yet 77 percent are not meeting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines.
  • 69 percent report to altering the portion sizes of what they are eating.
  • 65 percent of Americans say that weight loss is a top driver for improving the healthfulness of their diet.
  • 16 percent report to improving their diet to maintain their weight.
  • 12 percent of Americans can accurately estimate the number of calories they should consume in a day.
  • 35 percent of Americans inaccurately estimate the number of calories they consume each day.
  • 72 percent of Americans want to consume more fiber in their diet.
  • 73 percent of Americans want to consume more whole grains.
  • 73 percent of Americans cite that the cost of food has a significant impact in their food purchases. In 2006, it was 64 percent.
  • 85 percent of Americans have heard of the MyPyramid eating guidelines but 71 percent don’t use it.
  • 73 percent of Americans are either somewhat or extremely satisfied with the healthfulness of products offered at their supermarket.

The Food & Health Survey also covers consumer attitudes on protein, use of the Nutrition Facts Panel and other forms of food and beverage labeling, as well as low-calorie sweeteners, caffeine, food additives and colors.

For more information or for an executive summary of this report, please visit the International Food Information Council Foundation.

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