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Americans' Eating Habits Improving, USDA Report Finds

Jan 18, 2014 05:13 PM EST
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Efforts to improve Americans' eating habits are working, a report from the US Department of Agriculture suggests.

According to the report, between 2005-2010, 42 percent of working-age adults and 57 percent of older adults used nutrition information most or all of the time when making food decisions. Furthermore, 76 percent of working-age adults said they would use nutrition information in restaurants if offered.

"The Obama Administration is working hard to empower the American public to make smart choices every day at school, at home and in their communities," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "We have made significant progress, but our work is not done. We will continue to invest in critical programs that expand the availability of healthy, safe, affordable food for all Americans."

The report cited a recent study that showed calories consumed each day through food eaten outside the home dropped by an average of 127. Meanwhile, people on average ate three fewer meals and 1.5 fewer snacks per month away from home, which has translated into more family meals, the researchers said.

"We are pleased to hear that this study finds improvements in several key areas of the American diet," said Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at the US Food and Drug Administration. "FDA will soon propose an updated Nutrition Facts label designed to provide information that will make it even easier for people to make healthy choices."

The report also noted a growing sense of empowerment when it came to nutrition and health. The number of working-age adults who believed they had the ability to change their body weight increased by three percentage points between 2007-2010.

"When individuals believe that their actions directly affect their body weight, they might be more inclined to make healthier food choices," said study author Jessica Todd, of the Economic Research Service.

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