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Survey: Men need more education on nutrition

More than half of men ages 20 to 74 have blood cholesterol levels that are too high, but only 14 percent of those questioned in a survey said they were eating less fat, the American Dietetic Association said Tuesday. Although 82 percent of the men surveyed said they are at least "fairly concerned" about nutrition, just 53 percent reported changing their diets as a result.

Nutrition education traditionally has been directed toward women, which made sense in the days of television's idealized homemakers, Donna Reed and Harriet Nelson, said Mary Abbott Hess, a registered dietitian and president of the ADA.

But 29 percent of the men said they do all or most of the cooking at home. And Hess said she expects that as the baby boom generation hits its 50s, more men will want to know about healthful eating.

Other results of the survey:

Eighty percent of men ages 50 to 64 said nutrition was a top priority; 58 percent of men under 50 said so. But a quarter of the older group said they knew more about nutrition than the most significant women in their lives; 45 percent of men 18 to 24 said they knew more.

Of men who changed their diets, 8 percent said they were eating less meat or red meat; 16 percent said they were reducing cholesterol; 8 percent said they're eating more vegetables; and 4 percent said they're eating more fruit.

The survey was conducted in March by telephone of 506 men 18 or older across the country by R.H. Bruskin Associates. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.