Americans more realistic about the quality of their diets

A chart showing the percentage of the likelihood of reporting excellent or very good diet by education level.

An obstacle to policies aimed at improving diets through education is that consumers tend to overrate the quality of their diets and to think that dietary guidance is directed at someone else. A recent ERS study suggests that, in recent years, such optimism may be on the wane. The share of people who said that their diets were "excellent" or "very good" declined from 41 percent to 31.9 percent between 1989-91 and 2005-08. Declines in the share of "excellent" or "very good" self-ratings of diet were especially large among those with a high school education or some college. This chart is from How Americans Rate Their Diet Quality: An Increasingly Realistic Perspective, EIB-83, released September 2011.

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