Despite good intentions and a deepening understanding of nutrition and wellness, I know Iâm not as healthy as I could be. As it turns out, Iâm not alone. According to a new report published by Delicious Living and iVillage, most women in the United States see themselves as being only âsomewhatâ healthyâor worse.
âAlthough it may not be literally true that these women are âunhealthy,â it is certain that the vast majority see room for improvement,â write the authors of the report, For Women, Healthy Is Not What You Think. âThus, healthy food is not only intended to help maintain health; it needs to move them âin the right directionâ relative to their current states. This is true of younger women as well as older women."
Published in April, the report is based on the findings from a survey of nearly 5,000 U.S. consumersâ91% of them womenâconducted in February 2010. The survey was designed to gauge the health attitudes, beliefs, priorities and purchasing behavior of U.S. women of all ages. From this research emerged many interesting findings about how female consumers define health and wellness; what drives them to pursue healthier choices at different points in their lives; and how these definitions and motivations affect their interpretations of label claims and ingredient attributes and purchases of specific products and brands.
Not surprisingly, U.S. women view consuming healthy food as the most important way they can support their own health and the health of their families. As a result, the majority of women say they avoid food products that contain trans fats, saturated fats, high fructose corn syrup and MSG. A smaller, but still significant, percentage of women say they avoid genetically modified foods. When evaluating label claims, the survey found that products labeled as âhigh fiberâ are most sought out by women, followed by âreduced fat or fat freeâ and âlow sodium.â These three claims and numerous others were ranked higher than both âorganicâ and ânaturalâ by women of all ages in the survey.
Although I learned a great deal about how age and health conditions affect the beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of U.S. women from reading For Women, Healthy Is Not What You Think, perhaps the most eye-opening findings from the report had to do with perceptions surrounding natural and organic. For example, 67% of the survey respondents said they believe ânatural foods are better for me,â while only 57% reported believing that âorganic foods are better for me.â That said, those women who purchase organic products are more active and informed consumers and generally feel better about their health than other consumers.
Nutrition Business Journal will present a deeper dive into this and other consumer research related to nutrition, health and wellness, natural & organic products, and dietary supplements in our September 2010 issue. If youâre not yet an NBJ subscriber, visit our website to learn more.
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