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January 31, 2020

Millennials feel social pressure and anxiety to eat well

One in 3 Americans say they weren't taught how to eat healthy, survey finds

Healthy Eating Nutrition
Del Monte study on healthy eating Artem Beliaikin/Pexels

Most Americans understand that fruits and vegetables are part of a eating healthy, but many struggle to incorporate them into their daily diets, according to a survey by Del Monte Foods.

More than 30% of Americans say they have never been taught how to eat healthy, a new study shows. And millennials particularly are stressed and anxious about what to eat. 

According to a survey conducted by Del Monte Foods, Americans have a complicated relationship with food. Findings suggests that many are confused about what constitutes a healthy diet or stressed about the cost of eating healthy. 

"A lot of nutrition misinformation exists around the topic of healthy eating, and people can easily feel overwhelmed and confused," registered dietitian Sally Kuzemchak said in a statement. "But healthy eating doesn't need to be complicated and should be accessible to all."

The study, conducted online last fall, included a nationally representative sample of 1,000 American adults ages 18 and over.

The vast majority of respondents – about 86% – knew that eating fruits and vegetables is part of eating healthy. But many appeared confused about how to get the right amount of fruits and vegetables into their daily diet. 

While 78% of respondents acknowledged that eating fresh food is beneficial, only 13% believed that packaged foods could be healthy. 

Yet, fruits and vegetables in various forms – including frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice – can be used to fulfill the recommended five daily servings, according to Produce for Better Health Foundation, a Delaware-based nonprofit that promotes healthy eating.

Nearly half of respondents said the cost of healthier foods is a big stressor. Many feel they must cut back spending elsewhere in order to eat healthy. Some 63% of respondents felt they must sacrifice fun while 30% believed they would need to eat out less frequently. 

Del Monte Foods is offering nutrition education to elementary and middle school children at the Academy of National Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia as part of its national Growers of Good initiative.

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