Gooooooooo America! Some countries might be all, "Pooh pooh, I dew nut allow my cheezbeurgueur quotient to rise abeuve 5% beceuze I am tew beezay eating verrrry small miniateure cheeckens and plump oleeves straight frem de vine!" (That's my "other country" accent. I'm really good at it.) But America is like, "Oh, whatever, I'm hungry. McDonalds. Gormph." According to a new study, in fact, we gormph on fast food 11% of the time. We are an extremely cheeseburgy nation.
Which is fine, in and of itself—adults are allowed to make their own choices about what goes into their bodies—but less fine when you consider the painstakingly engineered addictiveness of junk food, or the agricultural subsidies and food deserts and holes in the social safety net that force low-income Americans to rely on cheap, shitty food for basic sustenance. According to a new study on our national calorie intake, in adults between 20 and 39, "fast-food calories dropped as income rose." (Outside of that age group, they said, income doesn't seem to be a factor.)
Some other insights from the study:
- From 2007-2010, American adults got 11.3 percent of their daily calories from fast food.
- For those aged 20 to 39, fast food accounted for more than 15 percent of daily calories.
- For those 60 and older, fast food accounted for about 6 percent of daily calories.
- Young adult whites and Hispanics (aged 20 to 39) got about 15 percent of their daily calories from fast food.
- Blacks aged 20 to 39 got about 21 percent of their daily calories from fast food.
- Among weight groups, obese young adults got the most daily calories from fast food — at 18 percent.
"Fast food is a fact of life, so we need to find ways we can live with it, not die from it," Heller said. "We need to encourage fast-food establishments to have a variety of healthy offerings that are marketed as cool, sexy, fun and delicious."
Yes. Because there's nothing "sexier" than an Asian Chicken Salad from Wendy's. Dessicated mandarin orange slices really pump my nads.
Call me cynical, but I really don't think forcing fast food outlets to carry sad brown apple slices is going to solve all of our national healthcare problems. We might want to think bigger (i.e. OVERHAUL ENTIRE BROKEN FOOD SYSTEM). But it couldn't hurt. And, as a person who occasionally participates in the American tradition known as a "road trip," if fast food purveyors could devise a way to sell some healthy, fresh food possibly made of vegetables at their price point, I'd be all for it. I'm really not clear on why "diarrhea gut bomb" is the traditional food of people trapped in small cars on rural highways.
And here's some potentially good news: The number of calories we're getting from fast food has actually dropped significantly within the past decade. Between 2003 and 2006 it was 13%. Now it's 11%. I'm not saying the eventual goal is 0%—again, people have agency and businesses have the right to sell things that people want to buy—but if Americans have money to buy and time to cook 2% more fresh, homemade food, that seems like a good sign.
Fast Food Makes Up 11 Percent of Calories in U.S. Diet: CDC [USN]