With Gen Xers (aged 40–55) now in middle age, the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, in partnership with the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), released a new survey that examines their food and health attitudes, with a particular focus on their behaviors and perceptions related to diet and cancer risk. Among the findings: American Gen X consumers are much more focused on weight loss than other age groups, a strong majority believes that lifestyle factors have at least some impact on the risk of developing cancer, and nearly half say their food and beverage purchases are impacted by whether they might reduce the risk of developing cancer.

The results supplement the IFIC Foundation’s 2019 Food and Health Survey, which was released earlier this year and examines the broader adult population (aged 18–80).

Nearly six in 10 (59%) of Gen X consumers think lifestyle choices have a least some impact on the risk of developing cancer, with 33% saying they have a great impact. Physical activity (58%), eating fruits and vegetables (57%), and weight loss (56%) were the top lifestyle changes Gen Xers believe can decrease the risk of cancer.

Nearly half of Gen X consumers (48%) say their purchases are impacted by whether a food or beverage might reduce their risk of developing cancer, although prevention of heart disease, diabetes, and other health conditions are also cited at similar levels. Gen X women, African Americans, and those in better health are all more likely than their respective counterparts to say that cancer prevention impacts food and beverage purchases.

Of those who say cancer risk has a great impact on their food and beverage purchases, 57% said their diet is extremely or very different from 10 years ago versus 25% of whom say cancer risk has little or no impact on their food decisions.

Gen Xers were also asked about the sources they trust most to learn about the potential links between diet and the risk of developing cancer: 31% chose a healthcare professional and 27% said they trusted health organizations that focus on cancer, such as the AICR. Other sources, such as websites, government agencies, and friends/family, trailed far behind.

Report (pdf)

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