BETHESDA, Md. (CN) – Fast food fed one out of three adults in the United States, and consumption tended to increase along with income, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday.
Published this morning by the National Center for Health Statistics, the data brief says 36.6 percent of adults consumed fast food on a given day between 2013 and 2016. The report explicitly says that meals reported as “restaurant fast food/pizza” were considered fast food for the study.
Though consumption percentages tended to decrease with age, they increased with increasing family income.
Among people 60 and over, the chance of these adults eating fast food was the lowest, 24.1 percent. But those between the ages of 20 and 39 had the highest number, 44.9 percent. Adults between the ages of 40 and 59 ate fast food on a given day 37.7 percent of the time.
The researchers tracked the same age patterns among men and women, but they found that a higher percentage of men (37.9 percent) consumed fast food as compared with women (35.4 percent). The study also found that men (48.3 percent) were more likely than women (39.1 percent) to eat fast food at lunch, and women (25.7 percent) were more likely than men (19.5 percent) to report eating fast food as a snack.
Broken down by race meanwhile the study showed that a higher percentage of non-Hispanic black adults (42.4 percent) consumed fast food than adults who identified as Hispanic (35.5 percent) or non-Hispanic white (37.6 percent) and Asian (30.6 percent).
As with age, the study found no significant differences between men and women of the same race with regard to their fast food consumption. The study found that the same was true of men and women in the same income brackets.
Relying on the federal poverty level — a measure of total family income divided by poverty guidelines and adjusted for family size and inflation – researchers found that 31.7 percent of lower-income, 36.4 percent of middle-income and 42 percent of higher-income adults consumed fast food on a given day.
The researchers defined low income as less than or equal to 130 percent of the federal poverty level, and middle income as greater than 130 percent to less than or equal to 350 percent of the poverty level. High income is greater than 350 percent.
“Fast food consumption has been associated with increased intake of calories, fat, and sodium,” a press release from the CDC states. In 2013, a previous study found that adults consumed 11.3 percent of their total daily calories from fast food.
The CDC also issued a report in 2015, which found that just over one-third of children and adolescents consumed fast food on a given day. Their average caloric consumption from fast food was 12.4 percent of daily calories.