When It Comes to Nutrition, Are You a Wise Investor or a Deep-In-Debtor? Millions of American women say they have adopted a healthy lifestyle by watching what they eat and exercising regularly.
Unfortunately, these women do not yet represent a majority of the adult female population. What motivates women to make a commitment to healthy habits, and does this commitment actually translate into good health?
A recent Women’s Health and Nutrition National Survey has provided some fascinating answers to these questions. One of the key findings is that women who view good nutrition as a long-term investment in their health, and who have maintained healthy eating habits for at least 10 years, are most likely to rate their health as “excellent.”
Many women would agree with the statement, “I’m probably going to pay more attention to nutrition when I get older” (and 65 percent in the Harris survey actually did). In fact, the survey revealed that it isn’t until age 40 that most women begin to develop a true commitment to healthy eating (60 percent of women age 40 and over say they practice healthy eating habits every day, versus 43 percent of those under 40).
Based on the survey results, women under 40 should consider changing their habits now, because if they don’t have healthy eating habits by age 40 they are less likely to change.
And to help women better understand the impact of personal health habits, four distinct “nutrition investor” profiles have been identified based on the survey:
- Wise Investors are women who practice good eating habits every day and exercise regularly, realizing that they will see big dividends in their older years. They number 27 million (27 percent of the USA adult female population). They’re healthy, wealthy (as it relates to benefiting from good nutrition) and wise. And, unlike the stock market adage, they know that past performance can guarantee future success. Some of the healthy eating habits Wise Investors have adopted are getting enough fiber and calcium every day, and controlling their intake of total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. Whole grain breads and cereals, lots of fruits and vegetables, and margarine are examples of foods that easily fit into their diets. Biggest return on their investment? they usually rate their health as “excellent.”
- Asset Builders are women who frequently watch what they eat and exercise regularly, but they’re not as committed (or as consistent) as the Wise Investors. They believe strongly in checks and balances, agreeing in a heartbeat that “exercise is as important as a good diet in staying healthy.” Choosing lean cuts of meat and chicken is one of the simple changes they’ve made to improve their eating habits. These women, who number 19 million, are building a nice nutrition nest-egg for the future. And they’re currently protecting some strong assets they usually rate their health as “very good” or “good”.
- Insufficient Funders are a sizable group 41 million women who either eat right or exercise, but they don’t do both. Because of their unbalanced approach to a healthy lifestyle, their nutrition savings accounts are likely to be stamped “insufficient funds” later in life. The “IFs” who only exercise would like to eat better, but they just can’t get themselves to do it. High-fat, high – cholesterol foods are likely to be staples in their diets. Skim milk, margarine, low-fat yogurt and fat-free salad dressing are probably absent from their refrigerators. Insufficient Funders, especially if they don’t exercise, are likely to rate their current health only as “fair.”
- Deep-In-Debtors are women who will definitely experience declining balances as they age. Unfortunately, they’re not so few and far between, numbering 14 million (13 percent of the adult female population). Deep-In-Debtors delight in the inventions of moving sidewalks and drive-thru restaurants (they don’t believe in exercise) and “diet,” even when it means healthy eating, is definitely a four-letter word to them. They also are permanent procrastinators they see nothing wrong with eating tomorrow what they couldn’t eat today. Bottom Line? they generally consider themselves to be in poorer health (and they can bank on it!).