Average Caloric Intake in the United States Declines

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Caloric intake among adults in the United States has significantly decreased since 2004, according to a study published in the April 2013 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The researchers analyzed trends in 9 different National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1971 to 2010. In the surveys, more than 63,000 Americans aged 20 to 74 years, provided information on what they ate over a 24-hour period.

The researchers found that the average daily caloric intake increased from 1955 to 2269 between the 1971-1975 survey and the 2003-2004 surveys. However, by the 2009-2010 survey, average daily caloric intake had decreased to 2195. The largest declines were found in participants aged 20 to 39 years and participants with a body mass index of 18.5 to 25 or 30 and above.

However, this trend toward decreasing caloric intake has yet to result in a decline in obesity rates. Some experts believe more time may be needed to see a change in obesity rates. Others believe that low rates of exercise are to blame or that respondents are not reporting their true caloric intake on the surveys.