More Than Half of Americans Trying to Lose Weight

Most Americans are either trying to lose (53%) or maintain their weight (25%), by changing the amount of food they eat (71%); changing the types of foods they eat (65%); engaging in physical activity (62%); changing how often they eat (44%); and counting calories (19%).

WASHINGTON — Most Americans are either trying to lose (53%) or maintain their weight (25%), by changing the amount of food they eat (71%); changing the types of foods they eat (65%); engaging in physical activity (62%); changing how often they eat (44%); and counting calories (19%).

This is according to the “2009 Food & Health Survey, Consumer Attitudes toward Food, Nutrition & Health." It was conducted online Feb. 19 to March 11 by the International Food Information Council Foundation here.

When asked about hurdles to staying on track, 44% said they didn’t see results quickly, 43% expressed lack of will power and 40% noted a lack of time.

Confusion about the relationship between calories and weight gain may also inhibit progress. Only 30% believe that calories in general are what cause weight gain, while just 11% correctly estimated the number of calories a person of their age, weight and height should consume per day. Close to half (47%) overestimated, 16% underestimated and 26% didn’t even venture to guess.

The findings indicate educational opportunities for supermarkets.

“Consumers crave consistency and they really want us to talk in positive terms about what they should be eating, instead of what they shouldn’t eat,” said Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, director of health and nutrition for IFIC. “We need to provide alternatives, positive choices to consumers, so they can improve their health.”

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