Is America finally eating healthier?
A new report published in the Journal of the American Medial Association points to a slight improvements in the eating habits of Americans in the past 15 years. The percentage of Americans consuming poor diets declined from 56% to 46%.
The definition of a healthy diet is based on recommendations by the American Heart Association (AHA) and includes the usual suspects:
increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and shellfish, nuts, seeds, and legumes, and
reduced consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, sodium, processed meat, and saturated fat).
While the average American improved her diet, most of the positive change took place in well-to-do, educated, Caucasian families. Minorities including Hispanics and African Americans showed little or no improvement. Nor did the poor and uneducated. Part of blame here is on lack of nutrition education, but also predatory marketing tactics used by junk food companies targeting weaker populations.
One of the problems with this study is that it is based on self-reported intake by individuals over a 24 hour period. As nutrition awareness grows, people tend to recall healthier foods they ate and forget the unhealthy stuff. Which means that there may have been no improvement at all, or maybe the change was much smaller than 10%.
Additionally, even healthy food, consumed in excess, can lead to weight gain and health problems. This issue was not addressed in the study.-Fooducate