A new survey shows that Americans are setting the health and fitness bar so low that even the overweight and obese can waddle over it.
The International Food Information Council Foundation"s 10th anniversary Food and Health Survey was just released today, and the gist is what we are very capable of self deception about the state of our health.
The survey says that 57% of Americans rate their own health as "very good" or "excellent." Yet statistics show that 55% of that group is either overweight or obese.
"What I fear is that we"ve reset the bar, in that some people actually don"t know what feeling good is like, but they think they feel pretty good," Dr. Jim Hill, executive director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado said in a news release.
Other highlights from the report:
  • 84% of consumers say they are either trying to maintain or lose weight
  • 82% of consumers are trying to eat more fruits and vegetables  
  • 76% are cutting calories by drinking water, or low- and no-calorie beverages  
  • 70% eating more foods with whole grains  
  • 69% are cutting back on foods that are higher in added sugars  
  • 68% are consuming smaller portions.
  • 37% of Americans cite lack of willpower as the biggest barrier to losing or maintaining their weight, 31% cite lack of time
  • 60% of Americans have confidence in the safety of the U.S. food supply, down from 70% in 2013
  • Taste (83%), price (68%), and healthfulness (60%) continue to be the top drivers of food-purchasing decisions
  • Asked how much time they spend preparing dinner on a given day, 19% reported less than 15 minutes, with 52% spending between 15 and 44 minutes, and 29% spending 45 minutes or more
  •  What is a sustainable diet? 39% of Americans says it represents a balanced, nutritious meal 25% say it means foods that are affordable and readily available and 23% say it means food that have a smaller impact on the environment.
The survey said more than three out of four consumers indicated they would rather hear about what to eat rather than what not to eat.  "Despite what we see that people want to be told what to do, we continuously tell them what not to do, and I think they"re very, very confused," Hill said in the release.
Gee, we"re sorry people. Buck up! Yes, eat more fruits and vegetables, but hold back on the Big Gulp and the donuts.
The survey asked consumers to rate the most effective weight management strategies, and 51% said changing the types of foods was most effective, while physical activity was close behind at 50%. A minority of those surveyed made up of higher-income Americans and those in better health were willing to pay more for organic and locally sourced foods that claim environmental, safety, and health benefits. 
A not-so-surprising gender divide was also revealed in terms of how Americans watch their diets relative to the attention they gave their favorite sports teams.
About 40% report they spend more time tracking the healthfulness of their diet than following their favorite sport or sports team (31%). But the survey revealed that men chose sports over their diet 46% to 27%, while women chose their diet over sports 51% to 17%.
The survey offers some interesting "would you rather" scenarios to contemplate. 
An retired man in the health club I go asks me these types of questions on a regular basis. A recent example: would you rather have be sick the rest of your life or die tonight in your sleep? You know, a really cheery pick me up!
This new survey has a couple of questions like that.
Here is one from the survey:

"When asked whether they would rather lose $1,000 than gain 20 pounds, 56% would rather lose the money, the same number as last year. However, there is also a gender gap, with 50% of men and 61% of women choosing to lose the money over gaining the weight."

Women are more horrified about weight gain than men, it seems to me. yet I have a feeling that most of the self-deception about health and fitness comes from males. How about those Royals, by the way?