USDA STUDY: Americans Choosing And Eating Healthier Foods

USDA-LogoA new report from the U.S. Department of Agricultures Economic Research Service reveals that American adults are eating better by making use of available nutrition information. The study called Changes In Eating Patterns And Diet Quality Among Working-Age Adults, 2005 to 2010 also reveals that Americans are consuming fewer calories coming from fat and saturated fat, consuming less cholesterol, and eating more fiber.

When individuals believe that their actions directly affect their body weight, they might be more inclined to make healthier food choices, says study author Jessica Todd, Ph.D.

The study also:

  • Underscores the importance of efforts undertaken since 2009 to improve food choices and diet quality to ensure that all Americans have access to healthy food and science-based nutrition education and advice

  • Found that use of nutrition information including the Nutrition Facts Panel found on most food packages increased in recent years. Those using the Nutrition Facts Panel the most? 42 percent of working age adults and 57 percent of older adults, while 76 percent of working-age adults said they would use nutrition information in restaurants if it were available.

  • Found that reduced consumption of food away from home fast food and fast food restaurants accounted for 20 percent of the improvement in diet quality. During the 2007-2009 recession, U.S. households overall food expenditures declined approximately five percent mostly due to a 12.9 percent decline in spending on food away from home and calories consumed through food away from home dropped by 127 calories per day. The average person ate three fewer meals and 1.5 fewer snacks per month away from home and eating at home more often was associated with more frequent family meals.

  • Indicates changing attitudes toward food and nutrition. The percentage of working-age adults who believe they have the ability to change their body weight increased by three percentage points in 2010 as compared to 2007 statistics. The report also reveals during this same period that there was little change in the importance that price paid when making grocery choices. When choosing items, working-age adults placed increased importance on nutrition.


Overall, daily caloric intake declined by 78 calories per day between 2005 and 2010. There were also overall declines in calories from total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol intake, and overall fiber intake increased by 1.2 grams per day.

The USDAs nutrition assistance programs include:

  • ChooseMyPlate Provides quick and easy reference tools for parents, teachers, communities and healthcare professionals to coordinate healthy eating on a budget. The resources include a Thrifty Food Plan and a 10 Tips Nutrition Series.

  • Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food to increase access to nutritious food through the development of strong local and regional food systems. Farmers markets have increased by more than 67 percent in the last four years and there are more than 220 regional food hubs in operation in the U.S.

  • Smart Snacks In Schools - Sets healthy guidelines for all foods and beverages sold in school to ensure students are offered only healthier food options.

  • SuperTracker is a free, online planning and tracking tool that helps Americans improve food choices, track physical activity daily, and maintain a healthy weight.


 

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