CDC: More Than 1 in 3 Americans Eat Fast-Food Every Day

CDC: More Than 1 in 3 Americans Eat Fast-Food Every Day
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It’s likely that most Americans are well-versed when it comes to how unhealthy fast-food is, yet a survey published October 3 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that more than 1 in 3 Americans eat fast food on any given day. [1]

The survey, compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics, shows that between 2013 and 2016, more than 36% – more than 1 in 3 – hit up a fast-food joint every day.

The findings show that the older the individual, the less fast-food they ate. Forty-five percent of adults ages 20 to 39 ate fast-food, compared to just 24% of adults over 60.

Men were more likely to eat fast-food than women, and non-Hispanic black adults consumed the most fast-food (42%), compared to whites (38%), Hispanics (35.5%), and Asian-Americans (31%). [2]

Income was found to play a significant role in how much fast-food a person ate. While fast-food is notoriously cheap, people with higher incomes were more likely to eat fast-food than those at lower incomes, the survey shows.

  • About 32% of lower-income Americans ate fast-food daily
  • More than 36% of middle-income Americans chowed down on fast-food on a given day
  • 42% of higher-income folks chowed down on fast-food on a given day

Read: Why You Should Avoid Fast-Food at All Costs

Several fast food chains have been trying to offer healthier menu items. For example, McDonald’s earlier this year pledged to make Kids’ Meals healthier by reducing portions, as well as salt and fat. In 2016, the fast food chain announced several changes to its menu offerings aimed at appealing to health-conscious customers, including adding kale and spinach to the iceberg lettuce in its salads (though the salads ended up being higher in calories than a Big Mac).

Still, it’s likely that fast-food restaurants will never be able to shake their reputation for being unhealthy. Despite the changes many chains have made, there is very little nutrition to be found in a fast-food meal.

Liz Weinandy, a registered dietitian at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, said:

“Most fast-food is not good for our bodies. The more of it we eat, the more likely we are to be overweight or obese and have increased risk for several diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome when talking to patients.”

It seems that despite the many warnings about the health woes fast-food can cause, Americans aren’t taking them very seriously.

Weinandy said:

“When we see news clips of a shark swimming near a beach, it scares us into not going near the beach.”

Read: Guess How Many Calories Are in a Typical Fast-Food Meal

But, she said, “what we should be scared of is double cheeseburgers, French fries, and large amounts of sugary beverages.”

Weinandy added:

“There is no reason to completely avoid fast-food, but it shouldn’t be consumed regularly. You may want to ask yourself how often you’re currently eating it and then cut that number in half if it’s more than once a week.”


[1] USA Today

[2] HealthDay