Involving, 5,500 respondents from 10 APAC countries, including Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and Thailand, the survey found that close to seven in 10 respondents (68%) have used social media each month to get the relevant information.
Ironically, social media is also the least trusted source, with only three in 10 expressing strong confidence in the accuracy of information from social media, findings from the survey titled ‘Asia Pacific Nutrition Myths Survey 2020’ revealed.
Also, less than half (48%) felt that the information from social media was very or extremely useful.
Healthcare professionals were voted as the most trusted information source, with 72% expressing strong confidence in the accuracy of the information.
In addition, 74% said that information from healthcare professionals was useful.
Almost seven in 10 (65%) expressed strong interest in receiving nutrition advice from healthcare professionals to improve their wellbeing.
Yet, in actual fact, only 37% received their nutrition information from these professionals, ranking behind recommendations from friends and family (64%), media publications and websites (59%), and blogs and other websites (54%).
At the bottom rung are nutrition companies, where only 33% of the respondents sought information from this channel, despite the fact that 54% of the respondents saw them as reliable sources.
“With the myriad of nutrition information sources and the prevalence of nutrition myths, it is more challenging than ever for consumers to obtain accurate information and differentiate nutrition facts from fiction,” said Stephen Conchie, SVP and MD, APAC of Herbalife Nutrition.
The respondents also took a general nutrition knowledge quiz, in which less than a quarter (23%) of the respondents answered at least half of the questions correctly.
Also, only 38% of the respondents had expressed strong confidence in their nutrition knowledge.
This is against the backdrop that 72% of the respondents thought it was “very or extremely important” to be equipped with the accurate nutrition knowledge.
“Consumers' low scores in the nutrition general knowledge quiz further underscore the importance of obtaining accurate knowledge from credible sources,” Conchie said.
The prevalence of online misinformation related to nutrition was cited as the key reason for a lack of nutrition knowledge in 40% of the respondents.
Other reasons include the lack of information from government websites, health authorities, and healthcare professionals.
As such, the firm believed that the government, healthcare institutions, and the nutrition industry should cooperate in educating consumers.