This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Learn more x


Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


A ‘What-If’ Kind of Day…

By Michael McBurney

Monday morning blues. An ecological analysis of databases by the Food Agricultural Organization (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), and World Bank finds a direct dose-response association between the adoption of a sedentary lifestyle with western dietary patterns and the global rise in diabetes prevalence. Depressing news.

What does it take to help people make healthier lifestyle choices? For years as a professor, I thought the answer was in education. This argument was undermined when the percentage of consumers who could associate foods (and nutrients) with health benefits became apparent . Consumers are more informed. 48% of adults know about the Dietary Guidelines in 2005 compared to 30% in 1995. Awareness of dietary guidance differs by ethnicity/race and age. However, the difference disappears (becomes statistically non-significant) when adjusted for other factors, i.e. health behaviors (smoking, body weight, etc), education and income.

The International Food Information Council Foundation 2014 Food and Health Survey finds consumers understand the nutrients (and ingredients) they should consume and limit. People continue to fall short of daily goals for vegetables, fruit, dairy and whole grains. Why is failure so ubiquitous?

People vote for food choices with their wallets, everyday at farmer's markets, bodegas, grocery and box stores and restaurants. Globalization, urbanization, economic development, and environmental pressures increase the need to provide more food to more people with less to sustainably feed the world. Food fortification increases micronutrient intake. Natural disasters and social unrest are very disruptive. Thankfully, many organizations help the most vulnerable. What about the rest of us?

Following dietary guidelines is best. But if we don’t, then what? What if our food security is threatened by the unexpected? What if the pantry/refrigerator/freezer has few choices? Life isn’t always as planned. Remember, multivitamin-mineral supplements can be a safe convenient way to insure micronutrient needs.

Main Citation

Oggioni C, Lara J, Wells JCK, Soroka K, Siervo M. Shifts in population dietary patterns and physical inactivity as determinants of global trends in the prevalence of diabetes: An ecological analysis. 2014 Nutr Metab CVD doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2014.05.005

Other Citations

Hornick BA, Weiss L. Comparative nutrient analysis of commonly consumed vegetables: Support for recommending a nutrition education approach emphasizing specific vegetables to improve nutrient intakes. 2011 Nutr Today doi: 10.1097/NT.0b013e31821a82f3

Mobley AR, Slavin JL, Hornick BA. The future of recommendations on grain foods in dietary guidance. 2013 J Nutr doi: 10.3945/jn.113.175737

Lutfiyya MN, Chang LF, Lipsky MS. A cross-sectional study of US rural adults’ consumption of fruits and vegetables: do they consume at least five servings daily? 2012 BMC Public Health doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-280

Rice BH, Quann EE, Miller GD. Meeting and exceeding dairy recommendations: effects of dairy consumption on nutrient intakes and risk of chronic disease. 2013 Nutr Rev doi: 10.1111/nure.12007

Wright JD, Wang C-Y. Awareness of federal dietary guidance in persons aged 16 years and older: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006. 2011 JAND doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2010.10.049

Johnston JL, Fanzo JC, Cogill B. Understanding sustainable diets: A descriptive analysis of the determinants and processes that influence diets and their impact on health, food security, and environmental sustainability. 2014 Adv Nutr doi: 10.3945/an.113.005553

Wallace TC, McBurney M, Fulgoni VL. Multivitamin/mineral supplement contribution to micronutrient intakes in the United States, 2007-2010. 2014 J Am Coll Nutr doi: 10.1080/07315724.2013.846806