The American Council on Science and Health's Surveys

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Summarized by: William D. Evers, Ph.D., R.D.
Department of Foods and Nutrition
Purdue University West Lafayette IN

The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt consumer education association. Since 1982 ACSH has evaluated the quality of nutrition coverage by a number of popular magazines with respect to their accuracy, presentation and recommendations. Criteria for judging have been essentially the same for the last four surveys, so ratings on magazines considered in these surveys can be directly compared.

The enclosed information gives the final rating for each magazine as determined for the particular survey. This "box score" gives only the rating. It is highly recommended that the full reports be read to understand how scores were determined, and to read the comments related to each magazine.

Prior to the 1990-92 survey, distinctions were made between the amounts of coverage a particular magazine gave to nutrition. This distinction is not shown in the table that follows. Rating criteria and methodology for the 1990 through 2000 surveys were similar, so the results of those 5 surveys can be compared directly. Earlier surveys are not directly comparable. ACSH only rates magazines that contain a certain number of articles per year related to nutrition topics. That is why some magazines are no longer rated (NR is the ranking). Several magazines that have not been rated since 1994 are presented on a separate page.

The survey results were taken from the following sources:

1982 ACSH News & Views 3(1):1-2, January/February 1982.
1984 ACSH News & Views 5(3):1,8-10, May/June 1984.
1986 ACSH News & Views 7(5):1,8-10, November/December 1986.
1986-88 Special Report-The 1986-1988 ACSH Survey on Nutrtional Accuracy in American Magazines, March 1989.
1990-92 Special Report-Nutrition Accuracy in Popular Magazines (1990-1992), July 1994.
1992-94 Special Report-Nutrition Accuracy in Popular Magazines (1992-1994), May 1996.
1995-96 Special Report-Nutrition Accuracy in Popular Magazines (1995-1996), February 1998.
1997-99 Nutrition Accuracy in Popular Magazines (1997-1999), June 2001.
2000-02 Nutrition Accuracy in Popular Magazines (2000-2002), January 2004.

Click here for the most current survey Nutrition Accuracy in Popular Magazines. Copies of all the special reports and information on the other surveys may be obtained by contacting:

ACSH
1995 Broadway, 2nd Floor
New York City, NY 10023-5860
212-362-7044
Fax: 212-362-4919
Email: acsh@acsh.org
Website: www.acsh.org

Magazine ACSH Rating1
1982 1984 1986 86-88 90-92 92-94 95-96 97-99 00-02
Better Homes & Gardens NR E E F G E(91) E(92) G(83)2 G(87)
Consumer Reports NR E E E G E(95) E(95) G(89)2 G(86)
Cooking Light NR NR NR NR E G(89) G(85) E(90)2 G(88)
Cosmopolitan P P P F P P(69) F(74) F(79)2 F(78)
Fitness NR NR NR NR NR NR F(79) F(78) G(81)3
Glamour F E G F G G(88) G(89) G(84)2 G(81)
Good Housekeeping G E G G G G(84) E(90) E(90) G(86)
Health NR E G F F G(82) G(87) G(84) G(87)
Ladies' Home Journal F F P P F NR NR G(80) G(89)3
Mademoiselle P G F F F G(88) F(79) F(77) CP
McCall's F F G G G G(84) G(83) NR NR
Men's Fitness NR NR NR NR NR NR NR NR P(68)
Men's Health NR NR NR NR NR F(77) G(81) G(82) F(71)3
Muscle & Fitness NR NR NR NR NR NR F(70) F(73) P(68)3
New Woman NR NR NR NR F F(77) P(69) NR NR
Parents G E E G G E(91) G(88) E(91) G(89)
Prevention P P F F G G(87) G(86) F(72)2 G(82)3
Reader's Digest G E G G G G(88) G(86) G(83) G(83)
Redbook G E F G G G(84) G(83) F(78)2 G(83)3
Runner's World NR F NR NR F F(74) G(82) G(82) G(85)
Self NR E G F F G(87) F(77) G(87) G(80)3
Shape NR NR NR NR NR NR G(81) G(86)2 G(80)3
Woman's Day F NR G G G G(86) G(85) G(84) G(82)

1 Ratings(percent score)
E = Excellent(90-100%)
G = Good or Generally reliable(80-89%)
F = Fair or Inconsistent(70-79%)
P = Poor or Unreliable(<70%)
NR = Not Rated
CP = Ceased publication

2 Magazine's 1997-1999 score is significantly different from 1995-1996 score.

3 Magazine's 2000-2002 score is significantly different from 1997-1999 score.



Magazines Not Rated Since 1994

Magazine ACSH Rating1
1982 1984 1986 86-88 90-92 92-94
American Health NR G G F G G
Changing Times NR E E G NR NR
Consumer's Digest NR G E F NR NR
Consumers' Research NR G NR NR NR NR
Essence P E G F NR NR
Family Circle F F G F F NR
Fifty Plus G E NR NR NR NR
Gentlemen's Quarterly NR NR G P NR NR
Harper's Bazaar P P P NR F NR
Let's Live NR P NR NR NR NR
Modern Maturity NR NR G G NR NR
Ms. F NR NR NR NR NR
National Enquirer NR F NR NR NR NR
Organic Gardening P NR NR NR NR NR
Saturday Evening Post NR P NR E NR NR
Science '82, Science '83 NR E NR NR NR NR
Scientific American NR E NR NR NR NR
Seventeen F E G G NR NR
Vogue F G G G F F

1 Ratings - Percent ratings not given or not comparable prior to 1990.
E = Excellent
G = Good or Generally Reliable
F = Fair or Inconsistent
P = Poor or Unreliable
NR = Not Rated