CLEVELAND, Ohio – Reliance on fast food, lack of time to cook healthy meals and the perception that healthy foods are expensive are factors that keep Americans from living heart-healthy lives, according to a new national Cleveland Clinic survey,
About 10 percent of Americans believe fast food is the most heart-healthy diet, and almost half buy fast food at least once a week, the survey found.
This year’s survey asked people about their heart-healthy habits and the most common barriers to a heart-healthy lifestyle, with a focus on diet and exercise, the clinic said.
The results of the clinic’s annual national heart survey aren’t surprising, but they do give doctors insight into how people think about diet and how it affects their health, said Dr. Lee Kirksey, the clinic’s vice chair of vascular surgery.
“The average person doesn’t necessarily understand how they make delicious, healthy food,” Kirksee said. “It’s a lack of awareness about how to make and prepare healthy food alternatives.”
The survey is part of the Cleveland Clinic’s Cardiac, Vascular and Thoracic Institute’s “Love Your Heart” consumer education campaign. The clinic is nationally recognized as a leader in cardiology and heart surgery.
True, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats are more expensive than convenience foods with added preservatives. But Kirksey said Americans should still go the extra mile to stick to a heart-healthy diet.
“Our health and the health of our families and those around us are our most important assets,” he said. “Investing in health can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and other vascular conditions such as amputation. Investing in one’s health through a healthier diet is not an investment to lose.”
Among other findings:
- Almost half of U.S. adults cite the higher cost of healthy food as the biggest barrier to eating healthily.
- Parents (14%) were twice as likely as non-parents (7%) to believe that fast food diets were the most heart-healthy.
- 71% of Americans believe that moderate exercise has a greater impact on weight loss than dieting.
- Access to healthy food can also be an issue, especially for minority communities. About one-fifth of black Americans say it is harder for them to get into stores that sell healthy foods, compared with 15 percent of white Americans.
- Nearly 40% of Americans believe a low-fat (37%) and low-carb (35%) diet is good for the heart. Only 15% of people choose the Mediterranean diet, which is recommended by clinics to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke according to clinical research.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, grains, olive oil, and nuts, as well as some fish and poultry, while minimizing dairy, red meat, processed meat, and sweets.
Kirksee said the clinic’s heart health survey is a good reminder that discussions about diet and exercise should be part of every visit.
“We shouldn’t forget to emphasize the impact of lifestyle and diet on their overall health and recognize these barriers in our overall assessment and treatment plan of patients,” he said.
Survey answers were drawn from a national sample of 1,000 US adults who participated in an online survey.
Oversampling of African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans was included in the survey, with sample sizes ranging from 250 to 350 individuals of each race or ethnicity. The margin of error for the total sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level, the clinic said.
Julie Washington covers healthcare cleveland net. read This link to previous stories. return:
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