I just got back from the USDA MyPlate National Partners in Person meeting, and boy did I learn a lot!
Much of the discussion revolved around consumers — how to communicate key health messages to them in a way that would resonate, how to keep them engaged in healthful habits, etc.
I thought that you mind find this information as useful as I did, so here are my notes from those discussions…
Phrasing is important. MyPlate’s focus groups found compelling evidence about the impact of several words in particular, especially as they relate to health and reaching health goals.
“Health” and “healthfully,” for instance, are very well-received buzzwords.
Along those same lines, people respond very well to the idea of a healthier future. Perhaps framing your next important nutrition or health lesson in that context will help it be even more compelling for your audience.
Of course, some phrases work better than others. MyPlate’s focus groups also revealed that both “healthy eating style” and “healthy eating pattern” are more engaging and appealing concepts than the word “diet.” Consider re-framing discussions of key food groups and healthful meals in terms of healthy eating patterns instead of a healthful diet.
Another element that MyPlate’s focus groups revealed was about what people want. People want healthy eating to be easy, or at least easier than it is. Often, all the rules and guides and misinformation out there can make it hard to determine what is healthful and what isn’t. People also get lost when it comes to ways to prepare healthful and balanced meals quickly, without spending hours in the kitchen each day. What they want is a way to eat healthfully, yet easily. How can we make that happen?
A good place to start is with MyPlate, which is an effective, simple-to-understand graphic that’s also easy to use.
I hope you find this information helpful — I was really fascinated by all the research!
Stephanie Ronco has been editing in a professional capacity for the past 10 years. In addition to her work as an editor, Ronco has also served as a ghostwriter and writing tutor. A voracious reader, Ronco loves watching language evolve and change. When she’s not delving into her latest project, Ronco can be found teaching acting classes, performing in community theater, or sailing with her husband.