Each year, the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) conducts a food and health survey to assess Americans' evolving attitudes about food and health. For 2013, the poll focused on the dynamic between what people think and what they do; the results of the poll offer some interesting insights.
“This year, the Food & Health Survey examined the intersection between consumers’ beliefs and their actions, and some of the results are surprising,” said Marianne Smith Edge, senior vice president for nutrition and food safety at the IFIC Foundation. “Our findings clearly reveal a control gap when it comes to nutrition and health. People think it’s quite possible to control their weight, diet and level of physical activity, yet many are falling short in their own lives and recognize that it’s easier said than done.”
In the survey, participants were asked to assign their diets a letter grade from A to F. The average grade they gave themselves was B-minus; when asked to grade the diet of the average American, they assigned a C-minus — an indication that, on average, most people think they’re eating a full grade better than most everybody else.
When it comes to having control over the level of physical activity, healthfulness of their diet and weight, the gaps are wide. For example, 90 percent of respondents say it’s possible to have “a great deal of control” or “complete control” over their level of physical activity, yet only 65 percent are actually trying to take that control.
And what's preventing people from addressing their physical activity and diet? Sixty-four percent cite a lack of willpower, 60 percent say a dislike of exercise, 54 percent note the perceived high cost of healthful food, and 51 percent cite slow progress as the reasons they are not taking control of these factors.
But that’s not to say that weight isn’t important to the people surveyed; more than half of them (56 percent) agreed that they would rather lose $1,000 than gain 20 pounds.
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