Label Literacy

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just released its 2008 survey on U.S. adults’ behaviors, knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about health and diet.

Fifty four percent of those surveyed said they read food labels the first time they buy a food.  That’s up from 44% in 2002.

Most people (2/3 of consumers) use the labels to see how high or low a food is in things like calories, salt, vitamins or fat.

Using labels is an important step in creating a healthy diet and understanding how to read it is key.  Check out this month’s AICR e-News for some guidance on portion size and serving size.

The AICR Guide to the Nutrition Facts Label also provides great information on how to use the label.

Do you read labels?  What do you look for on the label?


    Can Salads Sabotage Healthy Efforts?

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    You’re trying to cut calories – how bad could a Chicken Caesar salad be?

    Potentially disastrous if you’re eating at the Cheesecake Factory.   The 1510 calories in their Caesar chicken salad is almost a full day’s supply for some people.

    Read our review of fast food and restaurant salads to see how they stack up as low-calorie, veggie rich choices.  You can find low-calorie choices, but you’ll also find salads that will break your calorie bank.

    The Bottom line:

    • Keep it simple.  More veggies, fewer add-ons.
    • Go lean.  Main course salads should include chicken, fish or beans – high protein, low fat.
    • Always dress with less.   Go light with two tablespoons of low-fat dressing.

    Do you have a favorite lean and mean salad recipe?


      “Let’s Move” Initiative Will Lower Cancer Rates

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      Family Eating An Al Fresco MealMichelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to eliminate childhood obesity in a generation could have a major impact on cancer rates when today’s children become adults.

      AICR estimates that approximately 100,000 cancers occurring in the US every year are caused by excess body fat.  Add physical activity and a healthy diet to weight management, and we could prevent about one-third of the most common cancers.  And what better prevention strategy than helping children adopt healthier behaviors?

      The campaign focuses on four factors: Healthy Choices, Healthier Schools, Physical Activity and Accessible and Affordable Healthy Food.  This combination of policy changes, health professional action and family involvement envisioned by the First Lady is an important step toward helping children live healthier lifestyles.  And healthier lives will lead to fewer children becoming obese and remaining obese as adults.

      AICR’s major report, Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention addresses many of these same issues  as to how policy changes can influence the behaviors that affect cancer risk and other chronic disease.

      What do you see happening in your community to help children lead healthier lifestyles?