A Moment To Celebrate: Fast Food Consumption Drops
February 28, 2013

A Moment To Celebrate: Fast Food Consumption Drops

Just this past month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics released data about the country’s intake of fast food calories. For the most part, there was good news, albeit only slightly.

As CNN Health explained in an article highlighting some of the information from the report, in 2006 12.8 percent of an American adult’s daily calorie intake came from fast food. From 2007 to 2010 that number dropped to 11.3 percent, a one and half point percentage drop.

Though this is not much of a drop, at least adults are eating less fast food than in 2006. Heck, this is almost worth a major celebration considering how many fast food restaurants are available and how easy it is to eat at these places. This must mean that the health ad campaigns and marketing out there are helping, not to mention the medical push for healthier eating.

The report also identified the major consumers of fast food. As most would guess, the article confirms, “Younger adults tend to eat more fast food than seniors. People older than 60 eat approximately 6% of their daily calories from fast food.” What surprised me was the group of young adults who eat fast food most. “Among the younger age groups, non-Hispanic black adults eat the most fast food – using more than one-fifth of their daily calories at fast food establishments.”

Furthermore, obese adults in each group and category ate more fast food more often than healthy adults, which is not so much a surprise since fast food has been linked to the obesity epidemic in the U.S. Though certain groups ate more fast food, the CDC did not find a connection between one group: income levels and fast food consumption.

What I find most exciting about the data from the CDC report is that we are eating less fast food. Sure, it may not be less by much, but a decrease is worth noting. People respond to positive enforcement as well as negative, so focusing on positive facts such as a decrease in fast food consumption may just inspire us to eat even less.

If people are eating less fast food, ideally that means they are likely eating better, more wholesome meals. Hopefully, this also means people are eating more balanced meals with proper portion sizes. I think this latter idea is why fast food is so dangerous. I mean, when a medium drink is still 32 ounces that poses a problem. Thirty-two ounces of soda is a lot for one meal, and most people do not limit themselves to drinking soda at just one meal.

And it is not just soda that poses a problem in fast food portions. The size of meals are simply too much, and many places post signs about how easy and cheap it is to upgrade to a larger portion for just cents. Yikes…that is a lot of food.

I know how much people love their fries and burgers, tacos and nachos, fried chicken and mashed potatoes, and even fish and chips, but we must control ourselves. If we can’t eliminate eating fast food altogether, we should at least minimize our intake. This will only help us achieve a healthier lifestyle. So, let’s hope that the next time the CDC releases data about this, that percentage drops even lower.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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