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Why Americans Trust Themselves When it Comes to Their Health

According to a recent health survey conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC), Americans are a lot of things, but trusting is not one of them.

In its seventh annual food and health survey, the IFIC – a non-profit association in Washington, D.C. – found some interesting trends and a few setbacks regarding the health of Americans.

A few of the biggest highlights were that taste still reigns supreme when considering food purchases, technology such as mobile weight apps may be the health coach of the future, and conflicting information regarding nutrition has led many Americans to trust themselves when it comes to discerning their health.

The web-based survey included 1,057 participants, and was designed to reflect the American population ages 18-80. The report sought to gain a deeper understanding of consumer behaviors concerning health and food from both from a year to year standpoint, and over a long length of time. Although there was much information presented in this year’s report, here are a few of the most relevant and revealing highlights.
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A Snapshot of American Dieters: Are We Misguided in Our Efforts to Lose Weight?

Mary Hartley, RD, MPH, is the director of nutrition for Calorie Count, providing domain expertise on issues related to nutrition, weight loss and health. She creates original content for weekly blogs and newsletters, for the Calorie Count library, and for her popular daily Question-and-Answer section, Ask Mary. Ms. Hartley also furnishes direction for the site features and for product development.

At this point in time, 70 percent of American adults are trying to lose weight. That’s what the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) found in its 2010 Food & Health Survey. IFIC is dedicated to communicating science-based information on nutrition for the public good. It is a not-for-profit foundation that does not lobby for political causes or corporate interests. They surveyed about 1,000 American adults for the fifth year in a row.

Trying to Lose Weight
It makes sense that 70 percent of Americans are trying to lose weight. Data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that 65 percent of America’s adults are overweight or obese by Body Mass Index (BMI). At least we know we’re overweight, and we deserve some credit for that.

But here’s the problem: despite our best efforts, we are not giving weight loss our best shot. Weight loss is still a matter of calories-in vs. calories-out and calorie control is the way to see results. More calories in than out and you’ll gain. More calories out than in and you’ll lose. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Obesity Working Group (OWG) recommends a “calories count” focus for its messages because of the importance of calories in weight control.  
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Weight Loss is Primary Health Concern for Americans

According to the annual food study produced by the International Food Council, 70 percent of Americans say they are concerned about their weight status, and an overwhelming majority (77 percent) are trying to lose or maintain their weight.

These findings are part of the International Food Information Council Foundation’s fifth annual Food & Health Survey, which takes an extensive look at Americans’ eating, health and physical activity habits, as well as food safety practices.

“Americans are hearing about the importance of weight to their health from a variety of sources, and it appears to be driving healthful changes in their lives,” says Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA, Senior Vice President, Nutrition and Food Safety at the International Food Information Council Foundation.

The survey produced additional eye-opening insights into Americans’ basic understanding of nutrition and their day-to-day lifestyle behaviors.

Here a few highlights of the survey:


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Prevent Holiday Weight Gain & Avoid Mindless Eating

international food council logoDietsInReview.com had an opportunity to take part in a webcast organized by the International Food Information Council Foundation and hosted Brian Wansink Ph.D, Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and bestselling author of the eye-opening book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More than We Think.

In 2009, the International Food Information Council Foundation conducted the fourth annual, Food & Health Survey, a analysis of Americans’ attitudes towards food, nutrition and health. Before Dr. Wansink presented us his sage advice for how to navigate our way through the food-filled holidays, he discussed a few of his key findings from the 2009 survey. Below are the most salient highlights:
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How to Help Your Overweight Child at Home and School

The week of August 10 is Healthy Back to School Week at DietsInReview.com.

school girlWendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RD is director of wellness for the International Food Information Council (IFIC). Her work includes conducting consumer and health professional research, developing communication workshops for opinion leaders, speaking at conferences and workshops, and communicating with journalists and the media. Wendy is a certified fitness instructor and has also had a private practice specializing in weight management. She lives in St. Louis with her husband Dan and two sons, Drew and Evan.

For many parents, dealing with an overweight child can be a delicate issue. When it’s time to go back to school, the challenge of balancing healthy eating habits and exercise while building their self esteem can often seem overwhelming. Here are a few steps parents can take at home to get their kids off to a great start at school.

1. Be a role model: Children learn by what they see and observe, so set a good example. Plan family time that focuses on fun while enjoying food and exercise/physical activity together.
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