HEALTH

Poll: Many Americans claim to be improving their diets

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK While many consumers claim to have adjusted their diets to include more healthy foods and beverages, new data suggested that there may be a disparity between what is considered "good" by consumers and by experts.

 

Anew poll by Harris Interactive, conducted between Sept. 14 and 20 among 2,620 adults, found that the majority of all adults claimed that they:

  • Frequently or somewhat often eat healthier at home compared with when dining out (79%);
  • Drink water as opposed to another type of beverage at meals (74%);
  • Choose healthy snacks (72%);
  • Eat a balanced diet (72%);
  • Read nutritional information on packaged food products before buying it (68%);
  • Attempt to eat smaller portions (64%); and
  • Exercise regularly (57%).

All of the responses were in line with what doctors and nutrition experts recommend for people to maintain a healthy weight.

 

Harris Interactive, however, noted that some of these results may reflect what consumers think they should be doing rather than what they actually are doing. For example, while there were some differences in their replies to this question among those who are and are not overweight or obese, the differences are not very large. Most of those who are obese or even morbidly obese claimed to be doing the same healthy things that those who are not overweight claimed they were doing.

 

Relatively few people are regularly (five or more times per week) eating a full breakfast (22%); a full or well-balanced lunch (21%); or a full or well-balanced dinner (37%). Overall, 32% of consumers surveyed felt they were heavier than they should be but also felt they generally were healthy and content. Among the 32%:

  • 10% were normal weight;
  • 41% were overweight;
  • 55% were obese; and
  • 30% were morbidly obese.

 

Responses to the poll were analyzed by Americans’ body mass index.

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between Sept. 14 and 20, 2010, among 2,620 adults (aged 18 years and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting also was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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HEALTH

Omron offers up the gift of health

BY Michael Johnsen

BANNOCKBURN, Ill. With New Year’s resolutions just around the corner, Omron Healthcare is offering up healthy gift options for those looking to get back on track this January, the company announced Monday.

 

Priced under $50, Omron has assembled a sampling of gift ideas that provide motivation and accurate health information for those looking to make healthy changes in 2011.

 

 

For example, the Omron 3 Series upper arm blood pressure monitor enables patients to take the right steps in monitoring and managing the risk of heart disease. The Omron pocket pedometer with activity also is a great motivational tool, Omron suggested. And the Omron fat loss monitor is a hand-held tool that provides weight, body fat percentage and body/mass index readings.

 

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DHA supplements may help boost memory, study finds

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON According to a study published in the November edition of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, taking docosahexaenoic acid may improve memory and learning in older adults with mild cognitive impairments. The study found that DHA taken for six months improved memory and learning in healthy, older adults with mild memory complaints.

 

“The results of this study are very encouraging for those consumers concerned about maintaining memory,” stated Duffy MacKay, VP scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition. “The more we learn about the valuable role DHA plays in supporting brain function, the more options aging Americans have toward managing cognitive decline.”

 

 

While this study focused on a population of healthy adults with age-associated memory impairment, a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, conducted in a population that previously had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, did not indicate DHA provided a statistically significant benefit to cognitive function. The lead author of the JAMA study also highlighted that the study’s results may have been different had DHA been administered before the participants’ disease progressed.

 

“This study reinforces the principle that consumers will reap the most benefit from their DHA supplements — and many supplements — when they are taken over time and before a health concern is imminent,” MacKay said. “When included as a part of a proactive health regimen that includes a well-balanced diet, regular physical activity and routine visits with a healthcare professional, dietary supplements offer an important tool to help support many systems in the body, including memory and cognitive function.”

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