Fast Food Is An Everyday Meal For 1 in 3 Americans
Fast food has become an increasingly common staple of the American Diet, and a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention details just how much of it Americans are eating.
The study found that between 2013 and 2016, 37 % of adults consumed fast food on a given day. This number equates to about 84.8 million adults consuming fast food every day for any given meal. On average, American adults in the U.S. consume nearly 12 % of their total daily calories from fast food, according to data published by the National Center for Health Statistics.
Cheryl Fryar, a health statistician at the CDC, said, “We focused on fast food for this report because fast food has played an important role in the American diet in recent decades […] Fast food has been associated with poor diet and increased risk of obesity.”
The data revealed that fast food consumption varies by age, income level, race, and sex. 44.9 % of young adults ages 20 – 29 said they consume fast food on a given day. This number drops as age increases, compared to 37.7 % of adults 40 – 59; 24.1 % of adults ages 60 or older.
When compared by income level, 31.7 % of lower-income families are more likely to out for fast food, but as income increases, this number moves up to 42 %. Among those who consume fast food, men were more likely than women to eat fast food.
These statistics paint a troubling picture for the future of America’s health. Fast food is often high in unhealthy fats and sodium, and are often paired with sugary drinks. Liz Weinandy, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said: “The more of it we eat, the more likely we are to be overweight or obese and have increased risk for several diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome when talking to patients.”
While Weindandy adds, “there is no reason to completely avoid fast food,” it may be in the American public’s interest to wean itself off its everyday habits of eating it. She concludes: “You may want to ask yourself how often you’re currently eating it and then cut that number in half if it’s more than once a week.”
For those looking to make healthier choices when eating out at fast food restaurants, check out these healthy options.