Study identifies dietary short comings

by Staff
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PITTSBURGH, PA ― Research from Rutgers University confirms America's diet needs an overhaul. The study, published in the July/Sept. issue of Topics in Clinical Nutrition, summarized peer-reviewed research from 1996 to 2007 on Americans' dietary intake; food choice motivators, eating times and locations; and food preparation habits.

The purpose of the survey, which was funded by the Canned Food Alliance, was to better understand why Americans eat the way they do and provide recommendations for how Americans may achieve a healthier diet by identifying the behaviors and motivators that influence Americans food consumption.

The research showed people are eating too much fat, calories, added sugar and sodium, and not enough nutrients such as fiber, vitamin A and calcium. For example:

• Americans are only getting 77% of the daily value recommended for vitamin A, due in part for not consuming enough fruits, vegetables and milk.

• Males and females ages two to 19 consume more than three times the daily recommended amount of added sugar.

• Fiber is in short supply with Americans meeting on average only 60% of their daily requirement.

• Meal habits and inadequate planning could be a factor of poor dietary intake. One-third of Americans decide what to make for dinner at the last minute and make dinner selections because they require little or no planning.

"People think that eating healthfully takes too much time, so they're reaching for fast-food, takeout and other commercially prepared meals," said Dr. Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, lead study researcher and a member of the Nutritional Sciences Department at Rutgers University. "By planning ahead and having a well-stocked kitchen and pantry, Americans could eat more healthfully without changing the busy lifestyles they lead."

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