Post by Nancy Shute, The Salt at NPR Food (3/5/13)
Americans are all for government efforts to get them to eat more healthfully, as long as they don't feel like they're being bullied into it. That's what people said in a new survey about government efforts to influence how we eat, like New York City's ban on supersized sodas.
In the past decade, state and federal governments have launched dozens of new laws and programs to promote healthful eating and exercise. They've put a lot of effort into measuring what works, but surprisingly little effort into finding out what the people at the receiving end think.
So researchers at Harvard's School of Public Health asked. The 1,817 people polled were surprisingly positive about these new public health laws. They backed efforts to get kids exercising more, with 88 percent saying that public school kids should be required to have 45 minutes of physical activity each day. Making fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable, and requiring restaurants to post calorie counts, also won a big majority of votes.
Three-quarters of people said that food manufacturers and chain restaurants should be told to cut the salt content of their foods. And 76 percent of those surveyed said that banning the use of food stamps to buy soda and other sugary beverages was good policy.