Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Why Isn't Everyone Eating Healthy Foods?

This is a question that has plagued researchers for some time in the face of the growing epidemic.


Why Isn't Everyone Eating Healthy Foods?
By Vivian Richardson, Ivanhoe Health Correspondent
ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- America's obesity epidemic may be fueled in part by the lack of affordable and available healthy food choices for the lower income populations.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore report people with less money are more likely to buy cheaper, unhealthier foods. In a study of more than 4,000 adult U.S. men and women, researchers found there are several factors determining the quality of a person's diet, including income level, ethnicity and gender.
Youfa Wang, M.D., Ph.D., a co-author of the study, told Ivanhoe this is one of the first studies to actually use measurable data to explain which factors impact a person's food choices.
People in the study who wanted or needed to spend less money on groceries tended to have a diet higher in sodium and lower in fiber than people who did not consider the price of foods when shopping.
"Family income has an effect on people's dietary intake regarding specific nutrients and also the overall dietary quality," Dr. Wang said.
However, researchers also discovered people who were concerned about what they ate and the nutritional benefits tended to have healthier diets. Women, in particular, were more likely to attempt to meet dietary guidelines than men.
Dr. Wang said it is important to make healthier foods more accessible to people with lower incomes. Also, education campaigns can raise awareness and guide people in a healthier direction. "People's knowledge, attitude and beliefs regarding nutrition has an impact on what foods people may purchase," Dr. Wang said. Because differences were seen in different ethnic groups, Dr. Wang suggested some of the awareness campaigns would be more effective if targeted to specific groups.
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SOURCE: Ivanhoe interview with Youfa Wang, M.D., Ph.D.; European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, published online March 7, 2007

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