Dietary Number of the Day: 36.6 Percent

Faith Castro
October 5, 2018

More than a third of American adults-36.6%, to be exact-admitted to eating fast food on a given day between 2013 and 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed in a new study published this week.

There was one surprise: Bucking the notion that poorer Americans favor fast food the most, the report found that intake actually rose with income.

When it came to gender, men were most likely to buy fast food for lunch, while women would purchase it as a quick and cheap snack.

A person's income also played a key role in how often they ate fast food.

Regarding the fact that those who came from higher-income households were 1.3 times more likely to eat fast food on a given day than people from lower-income homes, Weinandy said her guess is that higher-income people 'are eating out more in general across the board and fast food falls into that category'. For non-Hispanic white adults, 37.6 percent consumed fast food on a given day, while 35.5 percent of Hispanic adults and 30.6 percent of non-Hispanic Asian adults did. 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. Among all adults, a higher percentage of men (37.9%) than women (35.4%) said they ate fast food on a given day.

The report - which drew its findings from information collected from 10,000 adults between 2013 and 2016 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey - found that fast food intake was higher among consumers in middle- and higher-income brackets. 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. 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.

That adds up to about 85 million people.

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"Most fast food is not good for our bodies", said Liz Weinandy, a registered dietitian at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center.

"We know for children, on days that they consume fast food, they eat about 120 more calories that day".

'For example, a grilled chicken sandwich is healthier than a cheeseburger but they inject the chicken with a sodium solution so what you're eating is high in salt content, ' she said.

'Either through subsidies to farmers or taxes put on sugar-sweetened beverages and processed foods to decrease the abundance'.

"We do know that fast food advertising has gone up during that time by pretty large amounts".

Our taste for fast food seems to diminish with age.

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