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Survey Says Consumers Hungry for Accurate Nutrition Information

2010-01-15

From Weight-loss Cookies tO Acai Diet Drinks: Many Consumers Have Trouble Finding Accurate Online Nutrition Information, American Dietetic Association Survey Says

Media Contacts: Ryan O'Malley, Allison MacMunn
800/877-1600, ext. 4769, 4802 media@eatright.org

CHICAGO –A new survey from the American Dietetic Association shows more than 60 percent of people have trouble finding accurate food and nutrition information on the Internet, while nearly eight in 10 are interested in locating reliable online sources of nutrition information.

According to ADA’s online survey of more than 1,000 adults, nearly seven in 10 people visit two or three Web sites when using the Internet to find food and nutrition information – and virtually everyone surveyed believes the information they find online is reliable and trustworthy.

“Unfortunately, we know from experience that not all sites are created equal and not all food and nutrition information you find online is reliable,” said registered dietitian and ADA Spokesperson Dawn Jackson Blatner.

“From weight-loss cookies to acai diet beverages, there are countless Web sites promising magic cures. ADA’s survey shows consumer interest in food and nutrition information is high, and we need to be concerned about the credibility of online sources,” Blatner said.

“You wouldn’t take advice from someone who walked up to you on the street and told you all of your health concerns could be solved with a special food item,” Blatner said, “but that is essentially what people are doing when they take nutrition advice from some of these Web sites.”

Findings of ADA’s survey include:

  • 61 percent of adults say they have trouble, at least sometimes, finding accurate food and nutrition information on the Internet.
  • 78 percent are interested in finding new, reliable sources of online information.
  • Fewer than 1 percent of respondents answered “no” to the question “Do you feel that the food/nutrition information you get on the Internet is reliable and trustworthy?”

“Seeking out reliable information from experts such as registered dietitians gives consumers their best opportunity to make healthful nutrition choices,” Blatner said. “The American Dietetic Association’s completely redesigned Web site, www.eatright.org, contains a wealth of science-based information and advice for the public on eating well and optimizing health. Whether you want to know if a best-selling diet book is worth the money or are seeking ways to cut salt out of your diet, ADA’s site should be in every consumer’s list of bookmarks and favorite sites when seeking food and nutrition advice.

“You don’t want to pin your health on just any site to show up on a Google search,” Blatner said. “You deserve the best information written by the experts in food and nutrition – registered dietitians of the American Dietetic Association.”

ADA’s survey was conducted online in December 2009 by Impulse Research with a random sample of 1,041 men and women 18 and older. The overall sampling error rate for this survey is plus-or-minus 3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

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The American Dietetic Association is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the American Dietetic Association at www.eatright.org