11% of American Calories From Fast Food

US children consuming fewer calories, too
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2013 8:58 AM CST
11% of American Calories From Fast Food
This undated file photo shows a large order of McDonald's french fries.   (AP Photo/Rich Kareckas,File)

The average American gets 11% of his or her calories from fast food—and, believe it or not, that's relatively good news, reports the AP. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed 11,000 adults from 2007 to 2010, asking what they ate over the previous 24 hours, and those results are actually down from 13% in the CDC's previous survey for 2003-2006. Among the latest survey's findings:

  • Adults 20 to 39 years old get 15% of their calories from fast food, versus just 6% for those 60 and older.
  • Blacks get 15% of their calories from fast food, versus 11% for whites and Hispanics.
  • Young black adults topped the survey with 21%.

Not all health experts are convinced by the survey, though. "If I were a fast-food company, I'd say, `See, we have nothing to do with obesity! Americans are getting 90 percent of their calories somewhere else!'" said one nutritionist who suspects the change actually represents more adults lying about their eating habits. But another CDC study shows that children are reducing their calories, too, down 7% in boys from 1999 to 2010 and 4.5% in girls, reports the New York Times. The drop, which experts say they hope helps reduce childhood obesity, mostly came from a reduction in carbohydrates, while calories from fat remained stable and those from protein increased. “To reverse the current prevalence of obesity, these numbers have to be a lot bigger,” says an NYU nutrition professor. “But they are trending in the right direction, and that’s good news.” (Read more obesity stories.)

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