Date Published: 31 October 2007

Never too late to change eating habits of a lifetime (FSA), UK

Health Food - illustrating an item from the UK Food Standards Agency.

A survey of 50 to 65 year olds published today by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), suggests that although awareness of healthy eating advice is high among this age group, certain misconceptions may be preventing people from putting this knowledge to good use.

In the survey, about a quarter (23%) of respondents agreed strongly that, 'life's too short to worry about what I eat'. Over a third (39%) agreed strongly with the statement, 'I’ve always eaten this way and it's done me no harm.'

Two thirds (67%) of respondents were confident they knew which foods to eat to keep their heart healthy and over half (57%) agreed strongly that: 'They take care to eat the right foods, as they know how important this is as they get older.' However, over a quarter agreed only slightly with these statements, or disagreed with them, suggesting more education is needed.

The survey coincides with the publication of a new FSA leaflet, The Good Life, which contains practical advice to help the over-50s improve their diets and overcome any misgivings they may have had about what is meant by healthy eating. The leaflet includes advice that may help to prevent certain chronic diseases that are common after middle age, such as heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis.

Rosemary Hignett, Head of Nutrition at the Food Standards Agency, said:

"In many respects the results of this survey are encouraging as it seems our messages about healthy eating are getting through.

But the UK has some of the highest rates of chronic diseases in Europe, most of which are preventable though healthier lifestyles.

Some people may worry that it’s hard to change the habits of a lifetime, or that healthy eating will impinge on their enjoyment of food. But the straightforward, practical advice we offer doesn’t demand huge changes in lifestyle and, contrary to what many people, may believe it’s easy to eat healthily and enjoy your food! "


Source: Food Standards Agency (FSA), UK.

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