Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

More Than 80 Million U.S. Adults Consume Fast Food on Any Given Day

Food
More Than 80 Million U.S. Adults Consume Fast Food on Any Given Day
Pexels

More than a third of Americans eat fast food on any given day.


That's the key finding of a report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) that tracked the fast food consumption of Americans between 2013 and 2016.

"On any given day in the United States, an estimated 36.6 percent or approximately 84.8 million adults consume fast food," report first author and CDC statistician Cheryl Fryar told CNN.

Registered dietitian at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Liz Weinandy, who was not involved in the report, said that adults underestimate the risks posed by fast food, which is typically high in fat, calories, salt and sugar but low in essential nutrients.

"It is funny, when we see news clips of a shark swimming near a beach, it scares us into not going near that beach. However, what we should be scared of is double cheeseburgers, French fries and large amounts of sugary beverages," Weinandy told CNN.

Fryar said her team conducted the research because of the supersized role that fast food has come to play in U.S. eating habits.

"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."

Overall, the study found that percentage of fast-food-eating adults decreased with age, with 44.9 percent of adults aged 20 to 39 indulging, 37.7 percent of adults 40 to 59 eating the stuff and only 24.1. percent of adults aged 60 or more chowing down on any given day. More men consumed fast food than women, for a difference of 37.9 percent vs. 35.4 percent.

A breakdown of adult fast food consumption by age and sex.CDC NCHS

One surprising finding was that fast food consumption actually increased with income. Only 31.7 percent of lower-income Americans, defined as those living on an income equal or less than 130 percent of the national poverty level, ate fast food on a given day compared to 36.4 percent of middle income Americans and 42 percent of higher income Americans.

"That connection or correlation is opposite of what I perhaps would have expected," Director of Clinical Research at the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Dr. Lawrence Cheskin told CNN. "But we need these kinds of studies and these kinds of facts and statistics to get a better understanding of what drives the use of foods that, as a nutrition expert I would say, are not your first choice for a variety of reasons."

A breakdown of adult fast food consumption by income level, based on the federal poverty level (FPL) and sexCDC NCHS

When it came to race and ethnicity, the breakdown of fast-food consumption on any given day was as follows:

  • Non-Hispanic black adults: 42.4 percent
  • Non-Hispanic white adults: 37.6 percent
  • Hispanic adults: 35.5 percent
  • Non-Hispanic Asian Adults: 30.6 percent
A replica of a titanosaur. AIZAR RALDES / AFP via Getty Images

New fossils uncovered in Argentina may belong to one of the largest animals to have walked on Earth.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Trump's Affordable Clean Energy rule eliminated a provision mandating that utilities move away from coal. VisionsofAmerica /Joe Sohm / Getty Images

A federal court on Tuesday struck down the Trump administration's rollback of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A wild mink in Utah was the first wild animal in the U.S. found with COVID-19. Peter Trimming via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

By Jonathan Runstadler and Kaitlin Sawatzki

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have found coronavirus infections in pet cats and dogs and in multiple zoo animals, including big cats and gorillas. These infections have even happened when staff were using personal protective equipment.

Read More Show Less
A mass methane release could begin an irreversible path to full land-ice melt. NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty Images

By Peter Giger

The speed and scale of the response to COVID-19 by governments, businesses and individuals seems to provide hope that we can react to the climate change crisis in a similarly decisive manner - but history tells us that humans do not react to slow-moving and distant threats.

Read More Show Less
Doug Emhoff, U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden wave as they arrive on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By John R. Platt

The period of the 45th presidency will go down as dark days for the United States — not just for the violent insurgency and impeachment that capped off Donald Trump's four years in office, but for every regressive action that came before.

Read More Show Less