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Quality of US diet shows modest improvement, but overall remains poor
Date:9/1/2014

re than half of the gain came from reduced consumption of trans fats. The overall improvement in dietary quality reflects changes in consumers' food choices and in the makeup of processed foods, and is likely the result of public policy efforts and nutrition education, the authors said.

They noted that the significant reduction in trans fat consumption suggests that collective actions, such as legislation and taxation, are more effective in supporting people's healthy choices than actions that depend solely on individual, voluntary behavior change.

Other changes in eating habits also played a significant role in boosting dietary quality. People are eating more whole fruit, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and polyunsaturated fats, and they're drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages, the study found. On the other hand, people did not eat more vegetables or less red and/or processed meat. And their salt intake increasedwhich the researchers found "disconcerting."

Gap grows between rich and poor

The results showed that people with higher socioeconomic status had healthier diets than people with lower socioeconomic status and that gap increased from 1999 to 2010.

These income-related differences in diet quality are likely associated with price (healthy foods generally cost more) and access (low-income people may have limited access to stores that sell healthy foods), the authors wrote. They also noted that education played a role: Dietary quality was lowest and improved more slowly among those who had had 12 years or less of school.

Among racial and ethnic groups, Mexican Americans had the best dietary quality, while non-Hispanic blacks had the poorest. The lower diet quality among non-Hispanic blacks was explained by lower income and education. The authors speculated that Mexican Americans' better-quality diets may be due to dietary traditions or culture. Among all groups, women generally had better quality
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Contact: Marge Dwyer
mhdwyer@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-8416
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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