Although we’re a long way from escaping obesity, a new survey has found that most Americans have finally started adopting healthier diets. They drink less sugary beverages, eat less fast food, and generally consume a lot less calories than they used to.
In fact, the change is so positive that Barry Popkin, professor from the University of North Carolina with an expertise in food data, called the phenomenon a “turning point in U.S. diets”.
Calorie consumption per day peaked in the United States back in the early 2000s and has now started to go on decline for the very first time in 40 years. That’s how long ago federal officials started tracking subjects, and how long they had to wait in order to see progress.
The results of the new statistics have shown that United States children have experienced the most noticeable drop in calorie consumption per day. On average, children consume 9 percent (9%) fewer calories on a daily basis.
The good news does not stop here as the calorie decline has broken all social barriers as well as financial barriers. It reached all major demographics, from European Americans to African Americans, from families with a high monthly income to families with a low monthly income. Although the researcher did find that the change varies somewhat from group to group.
The most noticeable dietary change concerns sugary beverages. The data revealed that the average United States citizen has cut down on full-calorie soda consumption by no less than 25 percent (25%). The conclusion was reached by comparing statistics from the late 1990s to recent, modern day statistics.
A diet less rich in calories means that the general public is keeping itself healthier. As a direct result of the dietary change, obesity rates have also stopped rising among American adults as well as school aged children. And as far as younger children are concerned, their obesity rates have even dropped.
The researchers explained that people made the choice out of their own volition, as they realized that they were doing damage to their own health. It turns out that the awareness actually started building back in the late 1990s due to the abundance of studies documenting the dangers that obesity poses to people’s health. Public health campaigns also had a part to play in the realization, as did smoking bans.
Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, Tufts University’s dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, gave a statement saying that “I think people are hearing the message, and diet is slowly improving”.
But even though the data showed that Americans are changing their dietary habits for the better, obesity is not an issue that we can escape just yet. Over a third of United States adults have still been found to be obese, which means that they’re vulnerable to developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even certain cancers.
A survey from last month has revealed that American adults are not consuming anywhere near enough fruits and vegetables. And the overall consumption of junk food products is still widespread, even if it’s being consumed in smaller quantities.
To reach their conclusion, the researchers looked at government studies detailing daily food diaries, data provided by food bar codes, and last but not least, documents containing estimates of food production.
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