Americans Believe that Healthy Eating Matters
According to a national study we did jointly with ad agency ndp, almost 3 out of 4 Americans believe that they should eat healthy foods and meals. They know that this matters, in terms of their own health. They told us so.
Yet, CDC statistics confirm the fact that at least two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.
The contradiction is startling, and if the trend line in terms of obesity is not reversed, we’re on our way toward even higher levels of heart disease and diabetes.
In our study, which focused on what consumers have to say on the general topic of “population health,” 71% selected eating healthy foods as one of the three most important ways to maintain or improve their own health. We also learned that 62% consider regular exercise an important contributor to better health. Click here to see the infographic that summarizes key results.
Our results show that, overall, a majority of people know what’s right–and yet have difficulty eating and exercising in ways that would increase their health, wellbeing, and longevity.
What’s holding us back, as individuals and society? My thoughts:
• Habits. Once set, they are hard to break. I drank sweet tea with lunch for years, until I realized this was something I needed to forego. Now, it’s water, at least most days!
• Anxiety/Stress. Under pressure, we often resort to eating comfort foods and reaching for drinks that may have lots of calories and/or sugar (wine, cookies). In my case, it’s chocolate that’s a magnet.
• Expense. Healthier foods often do cost more. Checked the price of fresh spinach lately? Or salmon, plucked from the sea? Healthier forms of lettuce cost more than basic iceberg. Cost is an obstacle for many in our country.
• Advertising. I’ve not seen a study, but I’m guessing that the amount of money spent on advertising products like soft drinks, chips, beer, etc. far outweighs that spent on buying fresh produce, farm-raised beef and other healthier choices.
• Societal Cues. Think about what we see in the movies, on television, and elsewhere. For example, how often is an actor portrayed drinking some form of alcohol?
While consumers see an important role for themselves in maintaining or improving their own health, we all seem to need help in actually exhibiting the behaviors that lead in that direction.