As government organizations lead the battle against this nation’s obesity epidemic, Americans are paying attention. Forty-six percent of Americans have heard of the new USDA MyPlate Guidelines, according to a national survey conducted by M Booth’s Better4You practice, and more than half of those (60 percent; or 27 percent of all Americans surveyed), say they may adopt the dietary guidelines for themselves or have already vowed to do so (11 percent).

The MyPlate model for healthy eating may help shape the way American families eat. Nearly 6 in 10 (58 percent) Americans aware of MyPlate say they would factor the guidelines into decisions that affect their families’ eating habits. The youngest group surveyed—those between ages 16 and 34—are twice as likely as older age groups, 55 years plus, to change their habits (19 percent vs. 9 percent).

Females are the most receptive audience to target with MyPlate messaging, with 7 percent more women than men willing to adopt it.

Those resistant to accepting MyPlate include: 16 percent who reported they definitely wouldn’t use the guidelines in determining how they feed their families; and 45 percent of those 55 and older who were the least likely to use MyPlate when making family-oriented food decisions.

M Booth’s Better4You director of nutrition Tanya Zuckerbrot, says the new nutrition tool has the potential to effectively change American eating habits. “The key to changing one’s eating habits is to make small sustainable changes. If people embrace even one facet of the MyPlate guidelines, such as filling half their plate with vegetables and fruit, it is a huge step forward for public health.

“MyPlate can be used as a motivating force to drive food manufacturers to create foods that meet healthful dietary guidelines, taste great and are affordable. It is imperative to educate the public on how to enjoy food as part of a healthy lifestyle."

Rich Goldblatt, senior vice president and director of M Booth’s Better4You practice, adds that MyPlate offers a vehicle for brands, marketers and the like to communicate nutritional messages to the masses.

“The results of our survey offer promise for brands in the Better4You space that wish to connect with consumers desiring a healthier lifestyle,” he says. “Shoppers are more plugged in than ever when it comes to understanding the good, bad and ugly in their daily diets. They are more pro-active, delving beyond creative packaging on store shelves, and taking a consistently closer look at nutritional labels.”