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Trends in energy intake in the US between 1977 and 1996 Similar shifts seen across age groups

Trends in energy intake in the US between 1977 and 1996 Similar shifts seen across age groups

FASEB Journal 16(4): A227, March 20

To determine the trends in locations and food sources of Americans stratified by age group for total energy and the meal and snack subcomponents. Nationally representative data from 1977-78 Nationwide Food Consumption Survey and the 1989-91 and 1994-96 (and 1998 for children 2-9) Continuing Surveys of Food Intake by Individuals. The sample consists of 63,380 individuals, ages 2 and up. For each survey year, the percentage of total energy intake from meals and snacks was calculated for 2-18 year olds, 19-39 year olds, 40-59 year olds and 60+ year olds separately. The percentage of energy intake by location (at home consumption or preparation, vending, store eaten out, restaurant/fast food, and school) as well as for specific food group was computed for all age groups, separately. The trends in location and food sources are almost identical for all age groups. In other words, while energy intake increased and decreased for different locations and foods, the changes were proportional across all the age groups. Key dietary behavior shifts included: greater away from home consumption, large increases in total energy from salty snacks, soft drinks and pizza as well as large decreases in low and medium fat milk as well as in medium and high fat beef and pork. Furthermore, Americans have increased their energy intake of french fries, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, pizza and Mexican food as a part of meals. Total energy intake has increased over the past 20 years with shifts away from meals to snacks and from at home to away from home. The similarity of changes, across all age groups furthers the assertion that broad-based environmental changes are needed to improve the diets of Americans.

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