Government studies just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found that the percentage of calories the average American adult gets from fast food on a daily basis has declined slightly over the years, from the former 13 percent to a “current” 11 percent. However, this latest study covers the years 1007 through 2010, compared to a previous study for 2003 through 2006. The research, it was noted, included “extensive questions” asked of approximately 11,000 individuals about what they ate and drank during the previous 24 hours.
The responses reported, however, are all averages, including some who rarely consume fast food, and other who consume more. They are not quantified in any way. So, perhaps it's not really so scientific. And it's certainly not, by any definition, current information.
Other fast food statistics, including some released last year, are more disturbing.
Texas in 2010 was on another “Top Ten” List – and not a good one. The nation’s second-largest state weighed in near the top on the scale of states with the “fattest” populations, according to a ranking of “fat” U.S. cities compiled by Men’s Health Magazine. Five Texas cities were in the top 10, with Lubbock coming in at number 13. Corpus Christi held the lead spot, trailed by El Paso, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. Interestingly, Austin ranked near the bottom of the list of 100 cities ranked.
Other cities in the top 10 included Charleston, W. Va., Memphis, Kansas City, Mo., Baltimore and Birmingham, Ala.
At the time that “fat” study was compiled, from data that was supplied in part by the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one of the contributing reasons cited was the consumption of fast food as a percentage of total food intake. Presumably, in areas where gross sales of fast food was high, the overweight and obese population was also higher.
The magazine noted then that Texas legislators had introduced a bill “requiring chain restaurants to list nutrition information, including calorie counts, on their menus.” Yale University researchers, it was stated, had “recently found that this dietary disclosure prompted people to order meals with nearly 15 percent fewer calories.”
The magazine also noted in its article that one in five 10 to 17-year-old Texans was obese, a problem exacerbated by the fact that about half of the state's children grow up in low-income households. Read more here.
In this week’s latest report, there was no difference noted for household income, except for young adults, as reported by the Dallas Morning News on Thursday. Those with incomes of less than $30,000 consumed 17 percent of their calories from fast food, in contrast with less than 14 percent for the most affluent in the 20-30 age group, those with incomes above $50,000. The study confirmed that the already-obese consumed about 13 percent of their daily calories from fast food, compared with less than 10 percent for those who are normal weight, or under average weight.
This particular study did not deal with actual calorie counts, but other studies have shown that the average adult consumes about 270 calories from fast food on an average day. A small McDonald’s hamburger and a few fries would supply that number of calories.
Again, not surprisingly, the study confirms that younger people eat more fast food than older people, dropping to about six percent of daily calories for those 60 and older.
So, if you keep track of these things, there are the facts as collected by the statisticians. Will it change anyone’s habits? Probably not. But, if you think about it at all, perhaps by the time the next study is released, the percentages will have dropped again and Texas may have achieved a healthier rating.
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