2 years ago
drwhat
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Americans are Eating Less...Does That Mean They're Eating Better?
The NY Times posted an article late last week titles "Americans Are Finally Eating Less" and the following description: "After rising for decades, calorie consumption has declined in recent years as public attitudes have shifted." Naturally, I was curious, so I gave it a read.
You can read for yourself, but the main points made in the article are pretty much the following:
- Calories consumed daily by the average American is on a sustained decline from a peak back in 2003. This is the first time this has happened since the gov't began tracking this 40 years ago.
- The average number of calories consumed by American children daily has fallen by about 9%
- The amount of soda consumed (full calorie, doesn't count diet/sugar free) has gone down by 25% since the early 1990s.
- Kids are drinking less sugar sweetened beverages, but all other categories remain similar.
- While the number of calories is down, the food groups that are being consumed remains largely the same, AKA still eating unhealthy foods.
Now, I'm not going to share anything else from that article because beyond what I've share, it just goes into a lot of theories that bring me back to the old adage: correlation does not equal causation. There's a lot of "experts say that this is because of the focus on childhood obesity in the media" etc etc, but I saw no real proof.
I can't help but think that the availability of calorie information (via apps like MyFitnessPal or because restaurants have to show you the calorie values on the menu now) is really the reasons people are eating less calories. They didn't know how many they were eating before, they do now, awareness pushes it down.
Whether or not that actually means Americans are eating "healthier" and becoming "less obese" like many comments on this article tried to claim....well I"m not sure I believe that just yet.
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I wonder about that too. Because just because there are less calories consumed, doesn’t mean that they are fresh veggies and fruit calories! lol.
It's also an averages thing I think. If you have a really wide range of people, and suddenly the calorie consumption of a few goes WAY down, it's going to look like everyone is eating a little less on average. I'm not saying this is the case here, but I think it's worth investigating further. Like you said, correlation does not equal causation. This might just mean that calorie-heavy foods are less accessible right now.
it could be due to the economy. in the 90's there was a stronger middle and more people bought more food and ate at restaurants more. now with families with less money and an almost non existing middle class ppl have less money to buy food. yes there r ppl who get food assistance but there are many more ppl who just missed the requirements to get food assistance however, they still struggle.
@nicolejb Exactly! @shannonl5 I also want to know more about where exactly these numbers came from, and the differences in the samples that they are taken about. @amobigbang That's very likely a contributing factor. Changes in the levels of wealth and the requirements for food assistance and more have changed what peopel are eating. What people can use food assistance on also makes a difference for a huge part of the population.
@drwhat me too. Especially since there might be regional changes that could be skewing the data. @amobigbang that's a really good observation. It seems like people are also more limited in what they can get from food assistance now. And I know where I live, the stores that accept EBT don't always carry a lot of variety, which could change the way people eat on a local level. I'm not sure how widespread that is, and I know there are stark differences in food accessibility just within a few miles of me.