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Forty-One Percent of Americans Believe Their Diet is Healthy, Twenty-Five Percent Say Theirs is Fair or Poor

Forty-One Percent of Americans Believe Their Diet is Healthy, Twenty-Five Percent Say Theirs is Fair or Poor

Four out of every 10 Americans consider their eating habits to be very good or excellent, while one quarter said their diets were fair or poor, according to the Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll. Truven Health Analytic, an IBM company, and NPR conduct a bimonthly poll to gauge attitudes and opinions on a wide range of health issues. In January 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture updated the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, including removal of the previous limitation on dietary cholesterol. The latest survey asked respondents for their awareness of the guidelines and their opinions about and personal experience with their diet.

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Overall, 41 percent of respondents said they considered their eating habits to be either very good or excellent. Twenty-five percent (one quarter) said their diet was either fair or poor.  When asked about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, just 26 percent were aware of the change in the dietary cholesterol recommendation. Thirty-five percent said they were confused about what kinds of oils and fats to consume for a healthy diet, a rate that tends to decrease with increasing age, level of education, and level of income.

 

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Of respondents who were aware of the new guidelines, 22 percent said they were eating more foods that are high in animal fat, while 14 percent they are eating less of such foods. Additionally, 27 percent of all respondents said they are eating more whole grains than they were six months ago, 11 percent said they are eating less, and 62 percent said there has been no change.

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“In addition to a distinct lack of awareness about the latest dietary recommendations, these results indicate some confusion when it comes to dietary choices,” said Michael Taylor, M.D., chief medical officer at Truven Health Analytics. “Approximately 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese according to the Centers for Disease Control, yet our survey shows that 41 percent of Americans say their diets are good. We appear to be seeing a disconnect between perception and reality when it comes to healthy eating.”

 

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To date, the Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll has explored numerous health topics, including generic drugs, vaccines, data privacy, narcotic painkillers and sports-related concussions. NPR archives reports on the surveys online at the Shots health blog here.

The Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll is powered by the Truven Health PULSE® survey, the nation’s largest and longest-running independently funded, nationally representative multi-modal poll that collects information about health-related behaviors and attitudes and healthcare use from 80,000 U.S. households annually. Survey questions are developed in conjunction with NPR. The figures in this month’s poll are based on 3,007 participants interviewed from May 1-14, 2016.

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