Women Outperforming Men at Eating a Healthful Diet, According to New Survey

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A New International Food Information Foundation Finds Women More Likely to Eat Foods for Health Benefits

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It's clear these groups have different priorities and circumstances that influence what they do in regards to their nutritional habits.

New International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation research suggests women are more likely than men to be taking advantage of and eating foods to maintain overall health and wellness as well as for more specific benefits like improved feelings of fullness and digestive health. The new insight comes from further study of this year's 3rd annual IFIC Foundation Food & Health Survey, which examines what consumers are thinking and doing about their food, nutrition and health.

According to the data both genders overwhelmingly believe(up to approximately 80%) that specific foods and beverages can provide a variety of benefits, but women are more likely than men to be consuming specific foods and beverages to:

  •     Maintain overall health & wellness (53% vs 46%)
  •     Provide higher levels of satiety (42% vs 27%)
  •     Improve digestive health (41% vs 33%)
  •     Diminish the effects of current health problems (34% vs 27%)
  •     Improve physical energy or stamina (34% vs 27%)
  •     Improve mental performance (34% vs 27%)
  •     Reduce the risk of getting specific diseases (33% vs 25%)
  •     Improve overall appearance (30% vs 20%)

In addition, the 2008 Food & Health Survey shows that women are more likely than men to be somewhat or extremely satisfied with their health status, but are also more concerned about their weight and more likely to be making changes to their diet to improve its healthfulness.

According to Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RD, Director of Health and Nutrition at the IFIC Foundation, "There are real distinctions between what women and men do and think about the foods they consume." She adds, "It's clear these groups have different priorities and circumstances that influence what they do in regards to their nutritional habits."    

The data were presented today during a special Web cast. Dr. Jenna Bell-Wilson, a nationally recognized dietitian and nutrition writer, talked about the importance of eating the right foods for women. "Women have unique nutritional needs that are not only different from men, but can shift throughout our lives. Starting in our teens, we focus on foods rich in calcium and vitamin D and a foundation of good habits, expanding to antioxidants in our 20's and 30's, and making our heart health a priority as we hit our 40's and above."

Meanwhile, Dr. Chris Mohr, a registered dietitian who has written hundreds of articles on men's nutrition and fitness, says, "As a society, we are often overfed yet undernourished. Loading up with the right nutrients can truly impact how you feel, keep your energy high, and reduce the risk of disease throughout your entire life. Focusing on fruits and vegetables, including high fiber foods, and opting for omega-3 fats is crucial for optimizing health and vitality."

They both agree that no matter what your gender, healthful eating should be a priority, and everyone can reap the benefits from a variety of foods that can help maintain health and wellness.

Slides from the Web cast are available by clicking here. For more information or to schedule an interview with Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RD, Jenna Bell-Wilson, PhD, RD, CSSD or Chris Mohr, PhD, RD, CSSD please do not hesitate to contact Eric Mittenthal or Jania Matthews at 202-296-6540 or mittenthal@ific.org.

The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation effectively communicates science-based information on health, nutrition, and food safety for the public good. The IFIC Foundation is supported primarily by the broad-based food, beverage and agricultural industries. IFIC Foundation materials are available at http://ific.org/newsroom.

Eric Mittenthal
(202) 296-6540
mittenthal @ ific.org

Jania Matthews
(202) 296-6540
matthews @ ific.org


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Jania Matthews
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