Here’s how much fast food Americans are eating

06 October, 2018, 13:36 | Author: Lillian Steele
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According to a new report from the CDC, about 85 million Americans eat fast food on any given day with men eating more of it overall than women.

"What surprised me was the finding that income was positively associated with more fast food", said Dr. Lawrence Cheskin, an associate professor and director of clinical research at the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who was not involved in the new report.

Fast food has been linked to many health issues beyond weight gain. The most common meal for fast food intake was lunch (43.7 percent), followed by dinner (42.0 percent), then breakfast (22.8 percent) and snacks (22.6 percent). Another 22.8 percent get a snack from a fast-food joint.

The study, by CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (you can read it in full here), found that nearly 40 per cent of Americans admit to eating fast food every day. That's significantly more than the 39.1 percent of women who do the same.

When it came to gender, men were most likely to buy fast food for lunch, while women would purchase it as a quick and cheap snack.

Liz Weinandy, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, conceded that it's unsurprising that younger people eat the most fast food, but she said the rates are very concerning. But the report reveals that this isn't necessarily the case.

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"We know for children, on days that they consume fast food, they eat about 120 more calories that day". People with higher incomes were more likely to consume fast food than those at lower incomes, the survey found. And among high-income families (those with incomes above 350% of the poverty line), 42% dined on fast food on a typical day. Anything participants categorized as "restaurant fast food/pizza" was included in the total.

The data show that the popularity of fast food varies by racial and ethnic group.

Weinandy agreed that America has to wean itself off its fast food habit. The survey results suggest an answer: time.

She believes that policymakers, doctors and health food advocates need to "beat fast food companies at their own game" in order to turn things around.

According to the findings, the more money someone had, the more they were likely to eat fast food. Asian adults ate the least amount of fast food every day at 30.6 percent. While about 45 percent of people in their 20s and 30s said they'd eaten fast food over the prior day, that number dropped to just under 38 percent for people in their 40s and 50s, and about 24 percent for people aged 60 and older, the study found.

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