Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Poll Watch: MyPlate May Face Challenges

According to the latest Gallup Poll.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week launched the MyPlate icon -- its new diagram for communicating the federal government's nutritional guidelines to Americans.

First lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack unveiled the new food icon -- which will replace the long-standing food pyramid -- at a press conference. The USDA hopes the new design will "prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times." It emphasizes the government's 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which include making half your plate fruits and vegetables.
The Poll:
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index measures Americans' consumption of fruits and vegetables daily by asking them: In the last seven days, on how many days did you: Have five or more servings of fruits and vegetables?

In May, 55.9% of Americans said they ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables four or more days per week. This is about on par with what Gallup typically finds in any given month. The percentage of adults who report this level of fruit and vegetable consumption has ranged from 53.4% to 59.0% since Gallup and Healthways started tracking it in January 2008.
While this is a majority it is not a very impressive number with over 45 per cent of Americans FAILING to eat the prescribed amount of fruits and vegetables.

Here is the graph:

The reverse curve of the graph is a cause for alarm.

What are other facts/results Gallup has found with their polling?
  • Americans tend to eat more fruits and vegetables in the spring and summer and fewer in the fall and winter.
  • Americans who say it is easy for them to get affordable fruits and vegetables are more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Young adults and black Americans are least likely to eat enough fruits and vegetables.
  • Americans who live in the middle of the country -- the Midwest and parts of the West -- are the least likely to eat fruits and vegetables frequently.
So, what does this all mean?

There will be serious challenges to help Americans make healthy food choices. Making healthy foods cheap, affordable, quick and tasty will help, but education and outreach to targeted groups will be necessary.

And, good luck with that.....

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