GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Eat forms! Stay thin! Whittle down those calories through worry! Americans abroad may have some sage advice for fellow citizens. A survey headline that is being picked up by media because it is catchy and touches a subject near and dear to Americans, food, states that “Americans Find Doing Their Own Taxes Simpler Than Improving Diet and Health”.
US citizens abroad struggle to convince fellow Americans that the tax-filing burden is onerous for those living outside the US, but getting the folks back home to digest that information looks unlikely, if the new survey is right. Taxes aren’t as sweet as food, and sadly, the survey report lacks any meat on tax filing problems to back up the story.
Here’s what it does show, providing food for thought for Americans abroad:
The US-based International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2012 Food & Health Survey shows that “Six out of 10 Americans have given a lot of thought to the foods and beverages they consume (58 percent) and the amount of physical activity they get (61 percent). Yet, only 20 percent say their diet is very healthful and 23 percent describe their diet as extremely or very unhealthful; less than 20 percent meet the national Physical Activity Guidelines.”
A worrisome detail is that “Fewer than one in 10 Americans correctly estimate the number of calories they need to maintain their weight and only three in 10 believe that all sources of calories play an equal role in weight gain. Calories from sugar, carbohydrates and fats are believed more likely to cause weight gain.”
Marianne Smith Edge, senior vice president for nutrition and food safety at the foundation, says “Clearly, there is a disconnect for many Americans.” The survey shows that “76 percent agree that ever-changing nutritional guidance makes it hard to know what to believe.”
That point eerily echoes one often made by US citizens living overseas, that the ever-changing IRS guidelines and rules make it hard to know how to file.
The tax part of the survey is thin, to say the least. The catchy headline is not backed up in either the press release or the executive summary with even a hint of what questions people were asked about filing taxes. A comparitive survey with Americans abroad could be interesting.