Americans Unrealistic About their Health?

May 24, 2011

Why do less Americans care about their health this year than last? Well that’s what the latest IFIC study found

A multi-year study, conducted by the nonprofit International Food Information Council (IFIC), recently found that this year less Americans are worried about their weight than last year. This is surprising because two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese and on top of that it seem as if nutrition and leading a healthy lifestyle are of top mind in most food discussions both for shoppers as well as the food industry and certainly the White House.

The study found that 42 percent of respondents, do not even count calories, and more people admit that they’re not trying to balance the number of calories they eat and burn. Yet calories are the first thing that participants said they look at on a nutrition label. The study also found that 43 percent of Americans say they are sedentary as compared to last year’s 37 percent. We have to get moving, whether it’s planned exercise, gardening, window shopping, taking the stairs more often or even parking further from the store, because being sedentary is not an option for a healthy lifestyle.

Fewer people in the survey considered themselves to be overweight (50 percent in 2011 versus 57 percent in 2010) but their reported weights and heights place them in the overweight category. Based on height and weight calculations, 34 percent are considered overweight and 34 percent are considered obese. It may be time to look in the mirror. Also alarming is that 57 percent of participants are concerned about their weight, which is down from 70 percent last year.

As consumers we need to continue to be vigilant about our health including what we choose to eat at every meal occasion. If we continue down this path, what’s next? 66 percent of Americans are currently overweight or obese, costing billions in health care expenditures. Prevention takes just a little effort, prepare meals from whole fresh fruits and vegetables ahead of time, choose whole grains over refined and leaner cuts of meat and skip the sugary beverages. This is about long-term behavioral change, not a quick fix! Perhaps we’re getting tired of hearing about getting in shape – but it is no excuse and not acceptable, we have the tools we need, it’s just about changing our attitudes and getting excited about health!