America! We’re Not As Healthy As We Think!

A new study highlights the confusion, misperception and concerns many Americans have over their health and diets.

May 29, 2015

We may think we’re healthy, but according to a new study, many of us have a slightly warped perception of our own health! The International Food Information Council Foundation’s 10th anniversary Food and Health Survey contains several new insights into Americans’ health and nutrition, including perceptions of their own health, an economic divide on food-purchasing decisions, where health and nutrition rank among competing priorities, and ongoing confusion over dietary and health-related choices.

The theme of this years’ survey was “What’s Your Health Worth?”, and according to data, 57% of Americans rate their own health as very good or excellent, yet 55% of that group is either overweight or obese.

Consumers also reported efforts to choose more healthful options in their lives, with 82% trying to eat more fruits and vegetables; 76% cutting calories by drinking water, or low-and no-calorie beverages; 70% eating more foods with whole grains; 69% cutting back on foods that are higher in added sugars; and 68% consuming smaller portions.

Another interesting finding in the report was that more than before,consumer confusion is emerging as a key concern. More than three-quarters (78%) say they would rather hear information about what to eat versus what not to eat. More than a third (36%) say that “chemicals” in food are their top food safety concern, followed by 34% who were concerned about foodborne illness from bacteria, despite the fact that the latter has a more serious and substantiated health impact.

This particular finding, in addition to the rest of the survey point to a need for better communication and this is an area where supermarkets can help. Clearly most consumers have an interest in health and are looking to be healthier but need some help getting there.  From in store dieticians to knowledgeable employees, supermarkets should make a point to guide shoppers on healthy choices. Show them what they should eat or what they should be making for dinner to maintain a healthy diet. And perhaps most importantly provide clear messaging about safety concerns. Supermarkets should be a place that customers trust and a place where they know they can go to cut through the confusion.

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