There’s Plenty of Room for Improvement When Americans Eat Away from Home
The 2005-08 National Health and Nutrition Examination survey (NHANES) reveals some important trends:
• Compared to data from 30 years ago, American adults and children over age 2 are consuming almost 200 more calories per day. The average calorie intake of Americans was 2,067 in 2005-08, compared to 1,875 in 19977-78. Although 200 calories may not seem like much (e.g. three cookies), this amount on a daily basis over time could be a very important contributor to the current obesity epidemic in the U.S.
• In 2005-08, adults consumer 69 percent of their calories at home and children ages 2-19 consumed 67 percent at home. Fast food places are the biggest source of food eaten away from home (264 calories), followed by restaurants with table service (209 calories).
• Foods consumed at home tend to be more nutritious than foods away from home. Foods eaten away from home have more total fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol per 1,000 calories and less calcium, fiver and iron than foods eaten at home.
• When they eat at home, Americans eat more fruit, dairy, and whole grains, but less vegetables (partly because tomato sauce and potatoes are so prevalent in meals eaten away from home).
Source: Lin B-H, Morrison RM. Food and Nutrient Intake Data: Taking a Look at the Nutritional Quality of Foods Eaten at Home and Away from Home. Amber Waves. Volume 10. June 2012