Obesity rates in the United States are the highest in the world: two of every three American men are considered to be overweight or obese. However, obesity in women is more common. According to the statistics, close to 40% of adults and 19% of young people are obese. And this trend is not decreasing.
Even though it is pretty clear that Americans consume more food than is necessary to turn into energy, an ordinary resident unconsciously overindulges in a great variety of unhealthy foods. Simply because in the States unhealthy food is the most tasty, affordable and available. It’s provided in large portions and even visually looks better than healthy alternatives.
Let’s get some deeper insights about what influences American obesity.
1) Americans eat out a lot
The frequency of eating food away from home has increased. And usually the main choice is a fast food. It was in 2015 that for the first time Americans spent more money on eating out than they did on groceries.
Moreover, studies show that people used to eat 20 to 40 percent more calories than eating at home. It is because the majority of restaurant meals contain half of the recommended norm of one day’s calorie consumption.
2) Portion sizes have gone up
The average restaurant meal is more than 4 times bigger compared with a plate size in 1950. For instance, today soft drinks are served in 1200 ml plastic cups. Before it was only 200 ml cups. Additionally, the average daily caloric intake also increased: if it was 2,109 calories in 1970, in 2010 Americans reached 2,568 calories.
3) A high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages
Recent data reveals that Americans are also the leaders in the consumption of sugary beverages. Luckily, the situation is a bit better in this case: being aware about the connection between obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, etc., the sales of soda drinks is decreasing. However, people change in their soft drinks to other unhealthy options like juices or energy/sport drinks.
4)Healthier foods can cost more
It is discovered that healthier diet patterns like fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts—cost significantly more than unhealthy diets such as those rich in processed foods, meats, and refined grains. On average, low-energy but nutritious foods cost $18.16 per 1,000 calories meanwhile high-calorie options cost $1.76 per 1,000 calories.
The latest research showed that junk food does not only cost less, but its prices most likely will not be affected by inflation. This makes it more available, especially for those who have difficult economic situation.
5) Potatoes and tomatoes are the main options of vegetables
Potatoes and tomatoes are the most available and eatable options of vegetables in the USA. Unfortunately, they usually are stuffed with sugars, fats and salt that leads to overconsumption.
6) Meals look like desserts
The typical American breakfast tends to be heavy with processed foods like toaster-pastries, waffles and cereals, dressed with maple or honey syrup, all of which are loaded with added sugars.
The average American consumes 19.5 teaspoons (82 grams) of sugar every day. Which is around 30 kg of added sugar consumed each year, per person. Meanwhile the daily limit of sugar is 6 tsps (25 g) for women, 9 tsps (38 g) for men.
7) Unhealthy food ads impact food choices
Many studies have proven that marketing of unhealthy foods turn people into loyal consumers. TV commercials have the strongest effects on individual food choice.
Nevertheless, children must be protected from this influence since they are the most vulnerable in this case.