Americans know what they’re missing in their diets

Nearly six Americans in 10 (58 percent) acknowledge that they do not eat a balanced diet on a regular basis, according to a new survey commissioned by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).

—New Public Opinion Survey Explores Nutrition Gap—

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 13, 2006 — Nearly six Americans in 10 (58 percent) acknowledge that they do not eat a balanced diet on a regular basis, according to a new survey commissioned by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). Although 81 percent of those asked said that eating a balanced diet was important, only 20 percent say they eat a balanced diet every day.

The survey results also showed that nearly half of U.S. adults (46 percent) take a multivitamin regularly1, and 41 percent take a multivitamin every day. More than 90 percent of multivitamin users agree that multivitamins ensure they are “able to get the nutrients they need for a well-balanced diet and overall healthy lifestyle.”

“The survey clearly makes the point that most people recognize they do not obtain the recommended amount of essential nutrients from their diet alone,” said Andrew Shao, Ph.D., vice president for Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at CRN. “Multivitamins can help fill that nutrient gap, and in a way that’s safe, convenient and affordable. The best solution, of course, is to do both—get a balanced diet and take a multivitamin—and CRN urges all Americans to take that course.”

Other survey findings include:

Women are more likely than men to regularly take a multivitamin. Half of women (50 percent) compared to about 2 in 5 men (41 percent) report taking a multivitamin.
Older people are more likely than younger people (under age 50) to regularly take a multivitamin. 54 percent of people age 50 or above regularly take a multivitamin compared to 39 percent of adults under the age of 50.
Females are more likely than males to say that eating a balanced diet is very important (87 percent vs. 74 percent)

According to the 2005 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, intakes of vitamins A, C and E, along with calcium and magnesium, are especially low in the diets of American adults.

“Effective health promotion includes regular exercise, having annual medical checkups, quitting smoking, eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains—and taking a multivitamin,” said Cynthia Thomson, Ph.D., R.D., a clinical nutrition research specialist at the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Arizona.

Scientific evidence shows that women of childbearing age can reduce the risk of having a baby with neural tube birth defects by taking a daily multivitamin. Middle-aged adults can help prevent osteoporosis and fractures by taking a supplement containing calcium and vitamin D. Large clinical trials also show that antioxidant supplements can help reduce risk of heart disease.

“Taking a multivitamin and eating right should not be an either-or situation,” said Dr. Thomson. “A sensible and responsible approach is to do both.”

The omnibus survey of 1,025 adults 18 years of age or older was conducted June 22-25, 2006, using Opinion Research Corp’s CARAVAN National Omnibus. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus three percent.

1“Regularly Takes a Multivitamin” is defined as individuals who take a multivitamin five or more days a week.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing dietary supplement industry ingredient suppliers and manufacturers. CRN members adhere to a strong code of ethics, comply with dosage limits and manufacture dietary supplements to high quality standards under good manufacturing practices.

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