Fewer than one-third of U.S. adults think their diets were very good or excellent

Vertical bar chart showing percent of adults who described their diet quality as very good or excellent between 2005 and March 2020.

In the period covering January 2017 to March 2020, just under 3 in 10 adults, or 29 percent, reported the healthfulness of their diets was “very good” or “excellent.” That is 3.5 percentage points lower than the corresponding share reported in 2005–06. These data can be found in the latest publicly available wave of the Flexible Consumer Behavior Survey (FCBS), which collects information on U.S. consumers’ knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about nutrition and food choices. For context, 41 percent of adults surveyed in the 1989–1991 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes of Individuals rated the healthfulness of their diets as “very good” or excellent, suggesting a continuing downward trend in the health quality individuals ascribe to their diets. In the 2017–March 2020 survey, adults age 20 and over were asked to assess their diet quality by responding to the question: “In general, how healthy is your overall diet?” They could choose “poor,” “fair,” “good,” “very good,” or “excellent.” Since 2007, USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) has sponsored the FCBS by providing partial funding for data collection and survey administration. FCBS is a module of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and its data reflect national trends about changing dietary behaviors of U.S. consumers. This chart appears on ERS’ Flexible Consumer Behavior Survey topic page, updated in June 2023.

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