Nearly 40% Of Americans Admit To Eating Fast Food Every Day

Alicia Farmer
October 5, 2018

More than 1 in 3 adults eat fast food on a given day, said a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The overall percentage of adults who consumed fast food decreased with age, increased with income, and was higher among non-Hispanic black persons compared with other race and Hispanic-origin groups.

"This study informs you that over a third of U.S. adults and about 45 percent of young adults consume fast food in the U.S.", Cheryl Fryar, a health statistician at the National Center for Health Statistics and author on the study, told Newsweek.

For the report, researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2013 and 2016. Almost 45% of those between the ages of 20 and 39 eat fast food each day, but just 24.1% of those aged 60 and over do the same.

Contrary to popular belief, the study showed fast food consumption is actually higher among in wealthy families. Only 24.1 percent of adults aged 60 and older consumed fast food, while 37.7 percent of adults ages 40 to 59 and 44.9 percent of adults aged 20 to 39 did.

Americans tend to turn to take out the most for lunch with men more likely to do so than women. Among men and women who consumed fast food, a higher percentage of men ate it for lunch, while a higher percentage of women ate it as a snack. On a typical day, 22.7 percent of Americans get their breakfast from a fast-food outlet.

'We know that people who are overweight or obese are more likely to be eating fast foods, but people really listen to their doctors, ' Weinandy said.

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The conventional wisdom about fast food is that people eat it when they can't afford something better, due to a lack of money or a lack of time. The survey was conducted in 2016.

That 91% was an increase from 79% of 771 parents in a 2010 survey and 83% of 835 parents in a 2013 survey, according to the Rudd Center report.

Our taste for fast food seems to diminish with age. Roughly 35 percent of Hispanic consumers and 31 percent of Asian-American consumers said they had eaten fast food the prior day.

"These findings remind us that fast food companies have figured out a way to conveniently fit into our daily routine, despite their [products'] negative health implications", Boehmer said.

Although fast food is typically higher in unhealthy saturated fat, sodium and calories, it tends to be low in several key nutrients that adult bodies need to flourish and that children's bodies need to grow, said Liz Weinandy, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, who was not involved in the new CDC report.

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