Are Amercians Turning Their Bulging Back On Fast Food?
Ten years after the infamous 'Supersize Me' movie highlighted the epidemic of obesity and fast-food in the US, it appears, from CDC data, that the message that greasy burgers and other artery-clogging food is not good (no matter how cheap). As NBCNews reports, the percentage of calories consumed from fast-food has dropped from 12.8% between 2003-2006 to 11.3% between 2007-2010. The reasons are not entirely clear though an aging population is certainly a factor as they comment, "Maybe you don't listen at 30, but you do at 60 when you are more vulnerable to clogged arteries of high blood pressure," as the 60-plus age group's consumption of fast-food dropped as low as 6% of calories (with the 20-39 age group consuming the most). Unfortunately, non-Hispanic black adults consumed a worrying 21% of their calories from fast-food. While this appears to be a positive thing, and indeed the aging of our population provides some backing for it continuing, we can't help but fear that the ongoing surge in food stamps and disability benefits suggests the fast-food 'breadlines' of today may be regrowing.
Americans’ love affair with fast food may be far from over, but there are signs we may be cutting down on French fries, greasy burgers and other artery-clogging food, according to a new study.
A survey released on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that, on average, adults consumed about 11.3 percent of their daily calorie intake from fast food in the 2007-2010 period – a drop from 12.8 percent in 2003-2006.
The CDC noted that more frequent fast-food consumption is associated with higher energy and fat intake and lower intake of healthful nutrients.
During 2007–2010, the highest percentage of calories from fast food was consumed among adults aged 20–39, the survey said. But among non-Hispanic black adults in that group, 21 percent of their calories were consumed from fast food. Cheryl Fryar, one of the authors of the study, said that while calorie intake was higher in young blacks than young whites, there was little racial or ethnicity differences in older Americans. She noted that the percentage of fast-food calories in the diet dropped to as low as 6 percent in the 60-plus age group. There was little difference between men and women, she said.
The survey results come almost 10 years after the film “Supersize Me” highlighted the danger of diets heavy on fast food, such as hamburgers, French fries and pizza.
Fernstrom said the second significant finding was that the fast-food calorie intake dropped dramatically as people age. “It could be cost related, or is it because people are becoming more health conscious?”
“Maybe you don’t listen at 30, but you do at 60 when you are more vulnerable to clogged arteries of high blood pressure.”
Commenting on the lower fast-food calorie intake, he said it was not clear if people were cutting back on how often they went to fast food restaurants or simply ordered healthier menu options. “Nowadays, they're offering a whole plethora of lower-calorie alternatives,” such as salads, low-fat dressings, low-calorie yogurt or desserts, smaller portions, low-fat and fat-free milk and water.
“It's no longer about where you eat, it's about what you choose when you're there. I can't say for sure, but I believe McDonald's is still doing robust business, and if more of that is coming from lower-calorie foods, salads, fresh fruit, etc., then that's terrific,” Ayoob told NBCNews.com.