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Retail Dietitians: New IFIC Survey Informs Summer Weight Management Programs


We’re on the cusp of summer and “shaping up” is on the minds of many shoppers and fellow employees. “Know your audience” is a mantra dietitians follow for developing effective educational programs and communications. These findings from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2015 Food and Health Survey delve into the consumer mindset to help you customize your retail weight-management plans.

  • There’s a disconnect between weight and health concerns. Eight in 10 Americans (84 percent) are actively managing their weight. Specifically, 52 percent are trying to lose weight, 29 percent are trying to maintain their weight and 3 percent are trying to gain weight. However, more than half (55 percent) who rate their health as “very good” or “excellent” are overweight or obese, suggesting that perception of health status is not necessarily tied to weight.
  • Consumers cite common-sense tactics for successful weight management. Top answers were changing the types of food eaten (51 percent), getting enough physical activity (50 percent), eating smaller meals or snacks (41 percent) and controlling higher calorie foods and beverages (30 percent). However, answers differed a bit when respondents were asked what tactics they’d use in the next year. Eating smaller portions led the list (75 percent), followed by snacking less (68 percent), tracking to increase physical activity (67 percent) and eating smaller, more frequent meals or snacks (65 percent).
  • Looking good and feeling well are top motivators. More than half of respondents said improved appearance (56 percent), increased energy and physical mobility (55 percent), and better health and overall well-being (53 percent) motivate them to manage their weight.
  • Lack of willpower and time derail weight-management efforts. Respondents get off track most often due to lack of willpower (37 percent) and lack of time (31 percent). Other factors are not seeing quick results (28 percent), stress and demanding schedules (27 percent), lack of energy (26 percent), and the cost of food, weight loss programs or gym memberships (26 percent).
  • Many overlook key package labeling that could help with weight management. When deciding whether to purchase a food or beverage, only 36 percent look at serving size and amount per container and just 29 percent look at calorie and other nutrition information.
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