Boomers On Nutrition, Gas-Price Villains, Etc.

Think of it as further proof that life is unfair: People care more urgently about what they eat just when they need bifocals to read the data on food labels. A report by The NPD Group offers a novel perspective on this phenomenon by comparing the concerns of younger baby boomers (those still in their 40s) and older boomers (who’ve forged ahead into their 50s). Sixty percent of older boomers, vs. 55 percent of the younger ones, agreed mostly or completely with the statement, “A person should be very cautious serving food with fat.” Older boomers were also more apt than younger ones to fret about salt (57 percent vs. 52 percent), cholesterol (57 percent vs. 48 percent), sugar (41 percent vs. 39 percent) and carbohydrates (34 percent vs. 32 percent). Ah, those carefree 40-somethings! Actually, the disparities in dietary caution are modest in comparison to the differences in health between the two boomer cohorts. Most notably, 26 percent of older boomers have high blood pressure, vs. 14 percent of the younger ones. The older are also more likely than the younger to have high cholesterol (19 percent vs. 12 percent) and diabetes (11 percent vs. 5 percent).

Where’s xenophobia when you need it? Even as Americans intensify their wailings and lamentations about high gasoline prices, they continue to give a relatively free pass to the oil-exporting nations. In an Associated Press/AOL poll fielded this month by Ipsos-Public Affairs, adults were asked to say which of several possible villains deserves “the most blame” for high energy prices. Twenty-two percent pointed to “foreign countries that dominate oil reserves,” fewer than the 30 percent who cited “oil companies that want to make too much profit.” Twenty-one percent assigned the most blame to “politicians.” The 9 percent who accused “environmentalists who want to limit oil exploration” probably shouldn’t be invited to the same parties as the 7 percent who fingered “people who drive gas-guzzling vehicles.”

Now that high gasoline prices are finally prompting Americans to shun massive SUVs, how will they satisfy their natural hunger for bigness? The timing couldn’t have been better for the introduction of Mega M&M’s, which offer the once-diminutive treat in a heftier size. One of the M’s must stand for “moderation,” though, as ads hasten to assure us that the candy isn’t overly big. The sizes displayed in the ad, from left to right: “Perfect. Spoils dinner. Is Dinner. Eats you for dinner.” BBDO New York created the Mega campaign.

Nothing like a robust stock market to make investors think well of their brokers. “Recent scandals haven’t done permanent damage to the individual investor’s outlook on the investment industry,” according to a Maritz Poll. Among the findings: 81 percent of investors feel their brokerage/investment firm is “ethical and honest”; 85 percent think the firm they work with “has earned their trust”; 78 percent think their broker or investment adviser “treats customers ethically and honestly.” One wonders whether they’d feel the same way if the Dow were a few thousand points lower right now. It’s also possible that investors don’t find the recent scandals all that scandalous, no matter what Eliot Spitzer and other prosecutorial types might say to the contrary. In any case, a brokerage house’s laudable ethics aren’t enough to keep its clients from feeling restless. Twenty-eight percent of investors said that they’re at least somewhat likely to leave their primary broker within the next 12 months. One key finding: Nearly half of brokerage clients who’ve been assigned a new broker “are dissatisfied with how the firm handled the transition.”

Worried about how much TV your kids watch? They’ll outgrow it. A Packaged Facts study of kids age 8 to 14 finds they become less interested in watching television as they get older “and more and more distracted when they do watch it.” While 80 percent of the younger tweens report that they “love” watching the tube, “this drops to 60 percent when kids reach their early teen years.”