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A Snapshot of the Nation's Dietary Habits

As part of the Let's Move! initiative, we are taking a closer look at Americans' dietary and physical activity habits in an effort to better understand how we can empower consumers to make better choices.  The Health and Diet survey from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a helpful tool in providing a snapshot of the nation's dietary habits.

The survey of more than 2,500 adults from all 50 states and the District of Columbia was conducted in 2008 and examines peoples' behaviors, knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about health and diet.

From this survey, we learned that a majority of consumers read food labels and are increasingly aware of the link between good nutrition and reducing the risk of disease.

The survey also found that, for the first time, more than half of those surveyed "often" read a label the first time they buy a product. Yet, while the number of consumers reading food labels has risen, consumers are skeptical of industry claims such as "low fat," "high fiber" or "cholesterol free" on the front of packages.

This skepticism is well deserved, and the FDA is taking a stand. The FDA issued warning letters to food manufacturers for giving misleading information on front-of-package labeling.

Food labeling is integral in helping consumers make better choices. Without honest and truthful nutritional information on food packaging, consumers will continue to remain skeptical and make poor choices about the food they consume. Yet working together, we can take steps to ensure that families have the information they need to improve our nation's dietary habits.

Read the full results of the survey.