Four out of every 10 Americans consider their eating habits to be very good or excellent, while one quarter said their diets were fair or poor, according to a Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll.
Truven Health Analytics, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based division of IBM, and NPR, Washington, D.C., conducted a bimonthly poll to gauge attitudes and opinions on a wide range of health issues.
In January, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture updated the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, including removal of the previous limitation on dietary cholesterol. The latest survey asked respondents for their awareness of the guidelines and their opinions about and personal experience with their diet.
Overall, 41% of respondents said they considered their eating habits to be either very good or excellent, while 25% (one quarter) said their diet was either fair or poor.
When asked about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, just 26% were aware of the change in the dietary cholesterol recommendation. Thirty-five percent said they were confused about what kinds of oils and fats to consume for a healthy diet, a rate that tends to decrease with increasing age, level of education and level of income.
Of respondents who were aware of the new guidelines, 22% said they were eating more foods that are high in animal fat, while 14% said they are eating less of such foods. Additionally, 27% of all respondents said they are eating more whole grains than they were six months ago, 11% said they are eating less and 62% said there has been no change.
“In addition to a distinct lack of awareness about the latest dietary recommendations, these results indicate some confusion when it comes to dietary choices, ” says Michael Taylor, chief medical officer at Truven Health Analytics. “Approximately 70% of Americans are overweight or obese according to the Centers for Disease Control, yet our survey shows that 41% of Americans say their diets are good. We appear to be seeing a disconnect between perception and reality when it comes to healthy eating.”