Americans eating habits tanked in 2013

Americans eating habits tanked in 2013

“Eating healthier” is generally at the top of millions of Americans New Year’s resolutions lists, but according to a new Gallup poll, that doesn’t necessarily mean millions will stick to it.

In fact, the poll shows fewer adults report eating healthy in 2013 than they did in 2012. The bad habits seemed to really kick in right around June when summer arrived. Last year, between June and September, healthy eating dipped by at least three percentage points from the same months in 2012. And even worse, healthy eating was at its lowest in 2013 among American adults in Gallup trends since 2008.

Gallup ImageGallup and Healthways collected data from at least 500 Americans each day about their eating habits as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. They uncovered that healthy eating generally follows a seasonal pattern. And these patterns seem to fit with what we’ve seen from New Year’s resolutions trends over the years. Folks tend to eat better at the beginning of the year. But by spring good habits start to wear off and by late summer, bad habits hit full bloom.

The poll also showed a 1.9 percentage point increase in bad eating habits between December 2012 and January 2013.  Perhaps this coincides with the annual uptick in holiday dining.

What healthy foods did Americans cut out?
It seems fewer Americans got their daily helping of at least five servings of fruits and veggies. The only exceptions were during the months of March and October.

What does this all mean?
Many experts say the poll spotlights the continued education needed to help get the “healthy needle” moving in the right direction. As the country’s obesity rate continues to climb across almost every demographic, it’s critical Americans are getting the message about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle with a proper diet and plenty of exercise.

Experts predict physicians will continue to play an important role helping in Americans get and stay on the right track by partnering with patients to ensure they follow the best dietary practices based on their health needs.

A Gallup poll, last summer, showed that 66 percent of Americans said their doctors speak with them about the benefits of a healthy diet. Additionally, in 2013 we saw an influx of restaurant chains start to offer healthier menu options. And of course there are no shortages of diets to choose from. But nutrition expert Jaclyn Sprague, who practices at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center on Chicago’s north side, says some of the biggest health benefits come with adopting and sticking with healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle. These benefits include warding off a host of health risks such as:

  1. Stroke
  2. Diabetes
  3. Heart Disease
  4. High Blood Pressure
  5. High Cholesterol

Five incentives, she says, that should motivate the millions who made healthy eating one of their 2014 resolutions….stick to it.

Want more nutrition scoop? Watch AdvocateLive.

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One Comment

  1. Hope we can do better in 2014!! I know I am trying.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.