Nutrition Accuracy in Popular Magazines: January 2004 - December 2005

Nutrition articles in magazines can be an asset or a threat to the public s health. But such articles often sell magazines. Thus it s no surprise that they publish an abundance of information about nutrition. According to the Magazine Publishers of America, 6.7% of all editorial (nonadvertising) pages in American consumer magazines were devoted to food and nutrition in 2005; that s more than eleven thousand pages in that year alone! With such a large proportion of the population making changes in their eating habits on the basis of information obtained from magazines, it is crucial to know just how accurate that information is.

To evaluate the quality of nutrition information presented in popular magazines, the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) has been tracking nutrition reporting in these publications for more than 20 years. Over that period as a whole, ACSH has found that the quality of the reporting has improved, reflecting most magazines growing commitment to educating their readers. In the shorter term, however, the current survey, which included articles published in 2004 and 2005, did not show any improvement over the immediate previous survey, which covered articles published between 2000 and 2002. In fact, the quality of nutrition coverage in popular magazines may have deteriorated slightly since the beginning of the current decade.

The full report can be downloaded for free at the right margin.