Although many have fallen away from their New Year’s resolutions to exercise more and eat better, three out of four Americans say they try to eat a healthy balanced diet most of the time. This seems especially important (83%) among young adults under 35 years old. But it appears a healthy diet is many things to many people. A resounding 66% of Americans think it’s most important to drink plenty of water to achieve a healthy balanced diet. health

Other important factors mentioned frequently include: eat the right quantity of food from all food groups, avoid processed foods, eat according to food pyramid guidelines, eat good carbs while avoiding bad carbs and eat “clean” – that is, more whole grains, vegetables and less meat, sodium, alcohol and processed foods.

But eating habits begin at home. Or at least in the grocery store. Almost half of Americans say they have several routine shopping habits in the grocery store. At least four in ten said they normally check expiration dates, look at the store flyer or circular, have a list and stay with it, read ingredients, shop aisle by aisle and/or start in the produce section. Although shopping the perimeter of the grocery store first is recommended for healthy food selections, only 11% stated they normally shop that way in the grocery store.

We all find time to eat, but getting the heart pumping through exercise is a tougher challenge. Overall, Americans do not feel as good about their exercising habits as they do about their diet. Over half (53%) state they do not feel they get adequate exercise. Men, however, felt significantly more confident (54%) that their exercise was adequate versus women (41%) feeling that way.

Three out of four Americans describe their normal exercise routine as moderate, like brisk walking, as compared to 26% who say intense, such as jogging or running. Less than half (43%) of Americans indicate they get the recommended amount of weekly exercise, that being either two and one half hours or more of moderate exercise (31%) or at least one and one half hours of intense exercise (12%).

For those in the health, fitness and food industries, it is good to know that Americans have their hearts in the right places when it comes to at least trying to be healthier. The challenge is to keep them educated and motivated and to help make it easier to reach their goals through products and services that do just that.

[Source:  “Americans Look for a Healthy Balance in Diet and Exercise.”  Ipsos U.S. eNation survey.  Ipsos.  Feb. 2014.  Web.  7 Mar. 2014.]