The Overflowing American Dinner Plate

December 24th, 2008

According to the Department of Agriculture, the average Americans’ weekly consumption of food has grown by almost two pounds in the last thirty years - WOW!

Concurrently, the Centers for Disease Control is reporting that the number of obese adults between the ages of 20 and 74 has more than doubled during the same period.

Read: The Overflowing American Dinner Plate

In 1970, the average American ate about 16.4 pounds of food a week, or 2.3 pounds daily. By 2006, the average intake grew by an additional 1.8 pounds a week.

Among other things, that’s an extra half pound of fat weekly – mostly from oils and shortening. That doesn’t count the fat in the extra quarter pound of meat Americans now eat every seven days. Those fats were somewhat offset by a steep drop in dairy consumption, the only major food group to have a decline, primarily in milk drinking. (But we do love our cheese. More and more of it.)

This portrait of the raw ingredients of the American diet is based on what the Agriculture Department calls “food availability” – the amount of food produced for the average American consumer. The data are adjusted for food losses (waste on farms; in processing and transportation; and in stores, restaurants and homes) to provide a close approximation of what individuals eat. (The most recent year for which data are available is 2006.)

The numbers don’t reveal how much grain went into bread versus cookies, or how many chicken breasts became chicken nuggets. But the overall increase in eating does suggest a link with the rise in Americans’ weight over the same period. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 15 percent of adults age 20 to 74 were obese by 1980. By 2007, that had more than doubled.

By Bill Marsh
The New York Times

Categories: Diet & Nutrition, Health & Wellness, Weight Loss

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