Dietary Number of the Day: 36.6 Percent

Almost 40% of Americans Eat Fast Food on Any Given Day, Report Says

More than a third of the United States population eats fast food every day, a new report warns.

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.

"Most fast food is not good for our bodies", said Liz Weinandy, a registered dietitian at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center. "Fast food has been associated with poor diet and increased risk of obesity".

The survey assesses the health of adults and children in the U.S. and tracks changes over time, looking at who eats it (age, income, gender) and how they eat it (where and when). Peak fast-food consumption occurs in our 20s and 30s - 44.9 percent of survey-takers in this age group ate fast food on a typical day.

The percentage of adults who said they consumed fast food rose with family income level, according to the report. Among those 60 and older, just 24 percent said they had eaten fast food in the last day.

Fast food is associated with all types of health problems. "People have the lowest health risk when they eat fruits and vegetables and whole grains", he said. And among high-income families (those with incomes above 350 percent of the poverty line), 42 percent dined on fast food on a typical day.

Fast food consumption also varied by race, with black adults eating the highest amount at 42.4 percent. The researchers found that men eat more fast food than women. However, more women (25.7%) than men (19.5%) said they had it as a snack. Slightly more men than women - nearly 38%, versus about 35% - reported eating fast food over the past day. People were asked to recall what they'd eaten in the past 24 hours.

Perhaps surprisingly, the CDC found that fast food consumption grew with increasing family income.

Americans' love affair with fast food continues, with 1 in every 3 adults chowing down on the fare on any given day.

'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.

"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.

This year, McDonald's announced plans to make kids' Happy Meals healthier, reducing portions and taking steps to cut back on the amount of fat and salt.

In fact, the more money someone has, the more likely he or she is to partake of fast food on any given day.

"When we see news clips of a shark swimming near a beach, it scares us into not going near that beach", Weinandy said.

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