#FoodChat – Talking Food and Health with IFIC 7-20-2010

The following blog post was submitted by the team at the International Food Information Council Foundation as a way to provide additional information as we prepare for tomorrow night’s (July 20, 2010) #FoodChat convo on Twitter. We are taking questions from the community via direct message to @FoodChat to help guide the conversation (those not on Twitter can post questions in the comments section here, please limit the question to 100 characters due to the way the Twitter platform works). A frequently-asked questions & answers document is available for those joining us for the first time.

We strive to understand what Americans know about nutrition and food safety so that we can communicate with them more effectively, helping people understand their food and the science behind it. We listen to Americans by conducting focus groups and fielding surveys  Five years ago, we started our signature Food & Health survey which asks people how they perceive the food they eat, how much they know about food and food components and how food and exercise fits into their daily lifestyle.

2010 Food & Health Survey Takeaways

This year, our key survey takeaways have to do with the strategies people use when it comes to managing their weight.  We found that 70 percent of people are concerned about their weight and 77 percent are trying to lose or maintain their weight.  The majority of those trying to lose or maintain their weight are changing the amount of food or type of food they eat.  Still, while Americans express concern about their weight and report taking some action, the concept of calories consumed and burned still leaves most scratching their heads:

  • Only 19 percent report keeping track of calories, which can be a tool for those trying to manage weight.
  • Only 12 percent of respondents accurately estimate their recommended daily calorie intake for weight maintenance.
  • 43 percent don’t know how many calories they burn in a day.
  • 58 percent of people don’t make an effort to balance the amount of calories they eat with the amount they burn.
  • Only 19 percent of those watching their weight keep track of calories.

These are just a few of the major findings in this year’s survey.  It also covers several other key areas including:

  • Understanding of food components
  • Food Safety
  • Food purchasing influences
  • Perceptions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans & MyPyramid
  • Sources of Food & Health information

All of this data put together helps us as we try to fulfill our mission of communicating science based information on health, nutrition and food safety for the public good.  We look forward to joining in #foodchat on Tuesday and hope you follow us @FoodInsight and @IFICMedia as well.

For more on the survey as well as who we are and what we do, visit www.foodinsight.org.