Nutrition and You; The American Dietetic Association's Results

September 28, 2011

The American Dietetic Association just released findings of its nationwide consumer survey. Find out American's attitudes towards health and nutrition here.

The American Dietetic Association has released the findings of its nationwide consumer opinion survey, Nutrition and You: Trends 2011. The results were released in San Diego, Calif., at ADA's Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, held September 24 to 27 at the San Diego Convention Center.
The aims of the ADA's surveys have been to measure attitudes, knowledge, beliefs and behaviors regarding food and nutrition and to identify trends and the evolution of behaviors and attitudes. The results of the surveys, individually and together, tell a compelling story of consumers' views on food, nutrition and health since 1991.
Since 1991, respondents have been asked, "Are you doing all you can to achieve balanced nutrition and a healthy diet?" And just under 50 percent have said yes since 2002. According to Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo, RD and American Dietetic Association Spokesperson, "Despite what people may say, virtually all indicators show half the American public is not in fact doing all it can to achieve a healthy diet."
To further that point, participants are asked a variety of questions to assess overall attitudes toward maintaining a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. While 42 percent say they are "already doing it," 38 percent say they "know they should" do more – Americans know they have room for improvement.
Next up, where do respondents see or hear the most information on nutrition? Sixty-seven percent listed television (up from 63 percent in 2008), which has been the most popular source of info since the survey started in 1991. Magazines (41 percent) and Internet (40 percent) were in a virtual tie for second place as consumers' leading sources of information. It's interesting to note that magazines dropped four percent from 2008 while the Internet rose16 percentage points from 2008.
How are Americans making their diets healthier? Respondents report that they have increased their consumption of vegetables (49 percent), whole grains (48 percent), fish (46 percent), and chicken (44 percent), while decreasing beef (39 percent), pork (35 percent), and dairy products (22 percent).
How important are diet and nutrition to surveyed participants? Sixty-seven percent say it is very important. And what about physical activity? Sixty-four percent believe being physically active is also important.
"The survey results were [and will be] to be used to educate the public about nutrition," says registered dietitian and ADA's 2011-2012 President Sylvia Escott-Stump. "We now have twenty years of insight into Americans' attitudes toward food and nutrition. This lets us measure not only what people think at this moment, but also how far consumers have come in improving their nutritional health. Registered dietitians need this information to guide individuals more effectively in achieving their nutrition goals."
For the full survey visit the ADA.