FDA Survey Finds Americans Doubt Healthy Food Claims, Read Food Labels

A majority of consumers read food labels and are increasingly aware of the link between good nutrition and reducing the risk of disease, according to the latest survey of dietary habits released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The 2008 U.S. Health and Diet Survey of more than 2,500 adults from all 50 states and the District of Columbia found that, for the first time, more than half of those surveyed “often” read a label the first time they buy a product. Yet, while the number of consumers reading a food label the first time they buy a product has risen, consumers are skeptical of industry claims such as “low fat,” “high fiber” or “cholesterol free” on the front of packages.

The 2008 survey is the 10th such survey since 1982. It was based on a random-digit-dialing telephone survey weighted for the number of phone lines and adults in a household, gender, race/ethnicity, and education. Calls for the survey were made between Sept. 6, 2008, and Dec. 7, 2008. The overall 95 percent confidence level is plus or minus two percentage points.

The complete study (available here: http://www.fda.gov/Food/ScienceResearch/ResearchAreas/ConsumerResearch/ucm193895.htm) provides great insight into how consumers eat both at home and in restaurants, as well as information as to what healthy choices they are making to improve their lives.
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