Closing America's Fiber Intake Gap: Communication Strategies From a Food and Fiber Summit.
Adequate intake of dietary fiber is associated with digestive health and reduced risk for heart disease, stroke, hypertension, certain gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. According to consumer research, the public is aware of the benefits of fiber and most people believe they consume enough fiber. However, national consumption surveys indicate that only about 5% of the population meets recommendations, and inadequate intakes have been called a public health concern. To address the fiber consumption gap and formulate potential solutions, researchers, educators, and communicators convened at a Food & Fiber Summit on January 28, 2014, in Washington, DC. Panelists and attendees devised communication strategies to correct consumer misperceptions about fiber. These misperceptions include commonly held beliefs that all whole-grain foods are good sources of fiber and that foods with fiber are expensive, unpalatable, and complicated to prepare. To help close the fiber intake gap, nutrition and health educators can use communication strategies such as providing clear and concise information, recommending flavorful fiber-rich foods, and describing the benefits of adequate fiber intake. Several supporting messages were developed to effectively communicate about fiber. An example is to advise people to consistently check nutrition labels to find good sources of fiber.