Almost 37 percent of American adults ate fast food on any given day between 2013 and 2016, according to a new CDC data brief. These numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are based on a survey of about 10,000 adults over four years.
In addition to analyzing the entire USA adult population, the CDC found that age is a factor in determining whether people will eat fast food. That's about 85 million people.
When asked to recall what they had eaten in the past 24 hours, about 45 percent of consumers in their 20s and 30s reported having eaten fast food over the past day.
The study found that as people got older they tended to eat less junk food.
The study suggested that fast food consumption tends to dwindle with age, as that number fell to under 38 percent for those in their 40s and 50s. Her team tracked data from in-person government surveys conducted with thousands of USA adults between 2013 and 2016.
The study did not find a difference between men and women.
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"The more of it we eat, the more likely we are to be overweight or obese and have increased risk for several diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome when talking to patients", she said.
"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.
"Most fast food is not good for our bodies", said Liz Weinandy, a registered dietitian at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center. On a typical day, 22.7 percent of Americans get their breakfast from a fast-food outlet.
Fast food has been linked to many health issues beyond weight gain. That's significantly more than the 39.1 percent of women who 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. Among middle-income families (whose income was between 130% and 350% of the poverty line), 36.4% ate fast food on a typical day.
By now, you might be wondering what it would take for Americans to dial back their addiction to fast food.
Weinandy agreed that America has to wean itself off its fast food habit. Roughly 35 percent of Hispanic consumers and 31 percent of Asian-American consumers said they had eaten fast food the prior day. And after we turn 60, only 24.1 percent of us rely on fast food for at least one of our daily meals or snacks. "I see many people who are successful at this, though, when they take a couple of hours on the weekend, and again midweek, to prep food and then plan ahead just a little to take some things with them".