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Overwhelmed Consumers Need Realistic Solutions to Manage Weight


Barrier: Lifestyles are Overwhelming ... Drives Parents' Lifestyle ... BE ACTIVE. Walk the dog, don't just watch the dog walk. Dietary Guidelines Alliance, 1995 ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Overwhelmed Consumers Need Realistic Solutions to Manage Weight

  • Overwhelmed Consumers Need Realistic Solutions to
    Manage Weight

Laura Hatch, MPH, CHES Michele Tuttle, MPH,
RD Society for Nutrition Education July 27, 2005
Todays Focus
  • What is the role of communications?
  • How can we, as communicators, help health
    professionals, educators, and physical activity

Session Goals
  • Share learning from consumer research
  • Consumer Views on Weight Management
  • Message Testing
  • Discuss how to put consumer research into action

International Food Information Council (IFIC) and
IFIC Foundation
  • Mission
  • To communicate science-based information on food
    safety and nutrition issues to health
    professionals, media, educators and government
  • Primarily supported by the broad-based food,
    beverage and agricultural industries.

The Dietary Guidelines Alliance
  • The American Dietetic Association
  • International Food Information Council
  • National Dairy Council
  • National Pork Producers Council
  • The Sugar Association
  • Food Marketing Institute
  • National Cattlemen's Beef Association
  • National Food Processors Association
  • Produce Marketing Association
  • Society for Nutrition Education
  • Wheat Foods Council

In Liaison With U. S. Department of
Agriculture U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services - Center for Nutrition Policy and
Promotion - Office of Disease Prevention and
Health Promotion - Cooperative State Research,
Education - U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention and Extension Services
- U.S. Food and Drug
- National Institutes of Health
- Presidents Council on Physical Fitness
Consumer Research on Healthy Eating Physical
Activity Weight Management
  • Portion Control
  • Dietary Guidelines Alliance
  • Its All About You
  • Dietary Guidelines Alliance
  • Healthy Weight
  • IFIC Foundation
  • Energy Balance
  • Dietary Guidelines Alliance

IFIC Foundation, 2004
The Obesity Epidemic
What Are Consumers Saying?
The Root Cause of Obesity is Simple An
imbalance between calories in and calories
out But...
IFIC Foundation, 2004
…The Social Factors Contributing to the
Imbalance are Complex
  • Changing food habits
  • Declining physical activity in the home and in
  • Increasing sedentary habits
  • Changing physical environment

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Life Priorities
  • Family
  • Religion/spirituality
  • Education/jobs
  • Personal goals
  • Health
  • Leisure
  • Family/Children
  • Home
  • Work/career
  • Health
  • Religion/spirituality
  • Finances/income
  • Relaxation/entertainment

IFIC Foundation, 2004
What is a Healthy Person
Today Whats Healthy, Whats Not
  • Active
  • Energetic
  • Confident
  • Smiling
  • Good complexion
  • Good posture
  • Bright and wide-eyed
  • Works out/is fit
  • Positive attitude
  • Well-rested
  • Overweight
  • Unkempt
  • Smokes/drinks/does drugs
  • Walks slowly
  • Dejected, holds head down
  • Bundle of nerves
  • Lays on couch
  • Out of breath
  • Dull skin
  • Depressed/negative

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Holistic View of Health
  • Health is viewed holistically physical, mental
  • Health is about overall wellness mind, body,
    and spirit. (Female, Chicago)
  • Good health means feeling good right now being
    free of disease and able to perform daily

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Health Where Consumers See Themselves Now
See Themselves Here
IFIC Foundation, 2004
Health Where Consumers Want To Be
Want To Be Here
IFIC Foundation, 2004
Barriers to Better Health
Barrier Lifestyles are Overwhelming
  • Consumers are rushed and harried, their
    lifestyles do not always reflect their
    priorities, esp. health
  • It ends up that you never get very much me
    time. (Male, Baltimore)
  • There are some things in the day that you have to
    do and some things that you want to do. Often,
    the things you want to do get left out. (Female,

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Barrier Parents in Particular are Time Crunched
  • Family demands come first leaving little time for
    self care
  • Until my kids get older and dont need me as
    much, my responsibilities are somewhere else.
    (Female, Chicago)
  • Few feel their sacrifice is harmful

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Barrier Convenience Drives Parents Lifestyle
  • Rely on easy-to-prepare and ready-to-eat foods
    for needed speed and flexibility
  • Move through the grocery store on autopilot
  • Physical activity must fit into family routine
    or it just wont happen

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Barrier The D Words Dieting and Denial
  • Consumers dont want to deny themselves favorite
  • Diet is a dirty word. (Female, Chicago)
  • Diet means suffering and giving up the things you
    like. (Male, Baltimore)

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Barrier Health Weight Loss Can Mean Two
Different Things
  • Many consumers are willing to participate in
    unhealthful behaviors in order to lose weight
  • Fresh fruits are healthy in my mind. I really
    love fruit but I tend to avoid them because they
    are high in carbs. I really miss eating fruit.
    (Female, Chicago)
  • Cutting carbs is the easiest way to maintain and
    lose weight. I dont have to exercise at all.
    (Male, Chicago)

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Barrier Results Take Too Long
  • Consumers want instant gratification
  • The trouble with staying motivated for me is that
    I need to see quick results and that doesnt
    always happen, even when youre working on it.
    (Male, Chicago)
  • If I start a new program and dont see immediate
    results, I get discouraged and impatient.
    (Female, Chicago)

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Barrier Habits Dont Change with Age
  • Consumers know their bodies are changing, but
    arent doing much about it
  • Twenty years ago, my boss said Id put on weight
    once I hit my thirties and he was right. (Male,
  • Its in the back of my mindI know sooner or
    later Ill change my habits. (Woman, Chicago)

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Barrier Motivation Missing for Many
  • Information doesnt translate to action
  • Its not like we dont know what to do, but we
    just dont do it we could all write a book on
    what youre not supposed to do. (Female, Chicago)
  • Until I come down to that mental motivating
    signal that tells me to start doing it, then,
    well, its not going to happen. (Male, Chicago)

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Potential Motivators to Better Health
Motivator Appearance
  • Triggers strong emotional response
  • Women focus on clothes
  • Its awful when your clothes dont fit anymore
    its just an awful feeling. (Female, Baltimore)
  • Men take a broader view
  • It motivates me when I see Mens Health magazine
    with pictures of guys who are cut. (Male,

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Motivator Family
  • Being there for loved ones
  • When Im running after my kids and Im out of
    breath, it makes me wonder if Im going to see
    them graduate. (Male, Baltimore)
  • I want to be able to bounce my grandkids on my
    knee. (Male, Chicago)

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Motivator Being a Role Model for Kids
  • Parents are concerned about how their habits
    impact their kids
  • I want to set a good example for my daughter.
    Shes a little on the larger side for her age,
    and I dont want her to grow up worrying about
    her weight. (Female, Chicago)

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Motivator Future Health Issues
  • But worries dont translate into action
  • I think more about my health now that I cant do
    as much I cant run up and down the stairs and
    I have problems with arthritis. (Female,
  • Things might not be affecting me now, but if I
    dont watch myself, things could catch up with me
    later. Diabetes runs in my family. (Male,

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Communication Concepts
  • Being a family role model
  • Achieving energy balance
  • Portion size
  • Its All About You

IFIC Foundation, 2004
If Family is First, Appeal to the Family
What Consumers Said
  • Kids learn by example. Show them how to eat
    right and be fit by sharing meals and playing
    actively together whenever possible. Even small
    amounts of time make a difference.
  • Parents arent always the best role models
  • I think theres a truth and falsehood to this
    idea. Its true were eating a healthy dinner so
    our kids see that, but they dont see us eating
    the ice cream after they go to bed. (Female,

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Communication Concepts
  • Being a family role model
  • Achieving energy balance
  • Portion size
  • Its All About You

IFIC Foundation, 2003
  • Energy Balance Nutrition Communications


Dietary Guidelines Alliance Energy Balance
Consumer Research
What Consumers Said
  • Your body weight results from a balancing act
    between how much you eat and how much you move.
    Changing either one affects your weight.
  • Consumers get it
  • Its really a very simple idea. If you eat less
    and exercise, you lose weight. If you eat more
    and dont exercise, you gain it. It boggles my
    mind that people find this complicated. (Male,
  • But arent inspired
  • This one doesnt really change anything for me.
    I know this, but I wouldnt call it particularly
    encouraging. (Female, Chicago)

IFIC Foundation, 2003
Energy Balance Opportunity Challenge
  • Energy, Balance are considered positive by
    consumers, but they are viewed more holistically
    than thermodynamics
  • A good combination of physical health, eating and
    working out, and mental health Maintain Balance
  • Balanced is about feeling better, looking better,
    and being happier. Trouble Stabilizing

Energy ? Calories
Dietary Guidelines Alliance, 2004
Barriers to Calorie Messages
  • Consumers react unfavorably to counting calories
  • I started to count calories and then I stopped.
    Its hard.
  • Maintain Balance
  • No one wants to count calories, its hard, you
    dont even want to eat. You need a scale and a
    measure scale. Trouble Stabilizing

Dietary Guidelines Alliance, 2004
Barriers to Calorie Messages
  • Very few consumers connect calories with physical
    activity output
  • The machines tell you how many calories you are
    burning. Trouble Stabilizing
  • It doesnt seem logical that its only a small
    amount youre burning. When you walk you only
    burn 150 calories, but you can shove in the food.
    It doesnt seem fair. Maintain Balance

Dietary Guidelines Alliance, 2004
Communications Concepts
  • Being a family role model
  • Achieving energy balance
  • Portion size
  • Its All About You

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Portion Size
Awareness of Food Intake
  • Participants acknowledged that they eat too much
    but it does not motivate them to change their
    eating habits.
  • I dont think about it managing what I eat at
    the time until Im done and say, Boy, I
    shouldnt have eaten all that. But while Im
    eating it, I dont. (Baltimore, Guilty)

Dietary Guidelines Alliance, 2002
Awareness of Portion/Serving Size
  • The terms portion size and serving size are
    used inter-changeably
  • I think its equal. If you take a portion of a
    chicken, that is a serving. One serving is equal
    to one portion. (Baltimore, Confident)
  • When they say serving size, typically that is
    smaller than an average adult would eat. But a
    portion for me, if its something I like, might
    be this whole plate, as opposed to a portion to
    someone else. (Chicago, Guilty)

Dietary Guidelines Alliance, 2002
Awareness of Portion/Serving Size
  • Serving size information on nutrition labels and
    the Food Guide Pyramid is perceived as
  • The serving size on the box is always too
    small. Its more for a child. Youve got little
    bitty servings. (Chicago, Guilty)

Dietary Guidelines Alliance, 2002
Consumer Tips on Managing Portions
  • Participants were generally aware of any number
    of strategies/tips that can be used to manage
    portion sizes (provided unaided)
  • Use a serving spoon to measure a portion
  • Use a deck of cards/fist to determine a portion
  • Use smaller plates
  • Eat less food but more frequently
  • But they rarely implement them
  • I dont do that every day look at portion
    sizes. I dont look at it every meal.
    (Chicago, Confident)

Dietary Guidelines Alliance, 2002
Dont Tell Me What to Do
  • There was a general sense among participants of
    dont tell me what to do.
  • Participants said they dont want to follow
    guidelines on food nutrition labels or the Food
    Guide Pyramid just because someone else tells
    them to.
  • I never follow rules and regulations. It is
    hard, it is not fun. (Chicago, Confident)

Dietary Guidelines Alliance, 2002
Communications Concepts
  • Being a family role model
  • Achieving energy balance
  • Portion size
  • Its All About You

IFIC Foundation, 2004
Its All About You
BE REALISTIC Make small changes overtime in what
you eat and the level of activity you do. After
all, small changes work better than giant leaps
BE ADVENTUROUS Expand your tastes to enjoy a
variety of foods
BE FLEXIBLE Balance what you eat and the
physical activity you do over several days. No
need to worry about just one meal or one day
BE SENSIBLE Enjoy all foods, just dont over do it
BE ACTIVE Walk the dog, dont just watch the dog
Dietary Guidelines Alliance, 1995
Its All About You Tips
  • Keep tips positive, short and simple
  • No one tip by itself is effective for all people
  • Tips should demonstrate a benefit
  • Make tips interesting and achievable
  • Tips should not appear to be overly permissive

Dietary Guidelines Alliance, 1995
Its All About You Still Powerful After All These
  • It is a positive message. It makes sense. It is
    forward-looking. Maintain Balance
  • I like it. It is motivating. Trouble
  • Reminds me not to be so hard on myself. To keep
    things in perspective. Maintain Balance
  • It is good reinforcement. We know all this but
    we need encouragement. Maintain Balance
  • Everyones day is different. You have to make
    choices that will work for you. Maintain Balance

Dietary Guidelines Alliance, 2004
Key Findings Implications
What Have We Covered So Far?
  • Adult views, especially parents with children at
    home, on health and weight management
  • Life Priorities, Barriers Motivators
  • Communications Concepts Messages

Dietary Guidelines Alliance, 1995
What We Learned Receptiveness to Change
  • Some Consumers …
  • Get it
  • Take steps to better health
  • Need positive reinforcement and new ideas
  • Dont get it, but want to
  • Struggle to improve
  • Receptive to help and ideas
  • Dont get it and dont want to
  • Not open to change
  • Leave them alone for now

IFIC Foundation, 2004
What Weve Learned from Consumers Health and
Weight Issues
  • Health important, but not 1 priority
  • Information does not bridge to action
  • Keep messages positive
  • Address lifestyle issues

IFIC Foundation, 2004
We Asked Consumers What They Need. . .
For More Information, Contact International
Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation 1100
Connecticut Avenue, NW Suite 430 Washington, DC
20036 Phone 202-296-6540 E-Mail
Research Sources
  • Addressing the Obesity Debate IFIC Foundation
  • http//www.ific.org/research/obesityres.cfm
  • Energy Balance Dietary Guidelines Alliance
  • http//www.ific.org/research/energybalres.cfm
  • Consumer Attitudes Regarding Portion Management
    Dietary Guidelines Alliance
  • http//www.ific.org/research/portionres.cfm

  • Now, Its Your Turn . . .
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