In the United States, poor diet is the biggest cause of poor health. This includes type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. These diet-related health problems disproportionately impact racial/ethnic minorities, people from low-income households, and the elderly. To reduce type 2 diabetes and other serious long-term conditions, the best approach should promote healthy eating while educating people to avoid foods that harm health. This can be challenging because of people’s different ideas, opinions, and perceptions about food.
Less nutrition knowledge, lower intake of fruits and vegetables
Eating more fruits and vegetables can help reduce our risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. However, in the United States today, consumption of fruits and vegetables is below recommended levels. Additionally, there are lots of studies that show that people with less knowledge about nutrition actually eat less fruit and vegetables.
Study from Sansum Diabetes Research Institute
This study from Sansum Diabetes Research Institute looked at how people perceive common fruits and vegetables. These included potatoes, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and avocado. Researchers used an online survey to assess adult opinions of the nutritional content and healthiness of these fruits and vegetables. They found that people’s perceptions of the macronutrient content of common vegetables and fruits was similar to information published by the USDA.
Age, ethnicity, and education are important factors
However, researchers found that factors such as age, ethnicity, and education level impacted individual perceptions of these fruits and vegetables. Further research is needed to see if these differences actually impact diet and diet-related disease. This data shows how important it is for nutrition education to consider ethnicity, age and education level, and tailor the curriculum to meet the needs of the population.