Fast food has become a major part of the American diet, and a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals just how many adults eat it.
Between 2013 and 2016, about 37% of US adults consumed fast food on any given day, according to the data brief published Wednesday by the National Center for Health Statistics.
“On any given day in the United States, an estimated 36.6% or approximately 84.8 million adults consume fast food,” said Cheryl Fryar, first author of the report and a health statistician at the CDC.
“We focused on fast food for this report because fast food has played an important role in the American diet in recent decades,” she said. “Fast food has been associated with poor diet and increased risk of obesity.”
Fast foods tend to be high in calories, fat, salt and sugar, which — when consumed in excess — can be associated with obesity, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, among other health risks.
On average, adults in the US consumed 11.3% of their total daily calories from fast food between 2007 and 2010, according to a National Center for Health Statistics data brief published in 2013.
Who eats the most and least fast food
The new report included data on about 10,000 people 20 and older from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2013-2016.
The data revealed that fast food consumption varied by age, income level, race and sex. For instance, 44.9% of adults ages 20 to 39 said that they consumed fast food on a given day, compared with 37.7% of adults 40 to 59, and 24.1% of adults 60 and older.
The percentage of adults who said they consumed fast food rose with family income level, according to the report. Overall, 31.7% of lower-income, 36.4% of middle-income and 42% of higher-income adults said they had eaten fast food.
“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.
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SOURCE: CNN, Jacqueline Howard