* Eleven percent of adults' calories from fast food
* Saturated fat still a problem for children, teens
* CDC says impact on child obesity not clear
By Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON, Feb 21 American adults have made a
little progress in recent years in cutting back on calories from
fast food, but children are still consuming too much fat, U.S.
health researchers say.
French fries, pizza and similar items accounted for about 11
percent of U.S. adults' caloric intake from 2007 to 2010, on
average, down from about 13 percent between 2003 and 2006, the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in one of two
reports released on Thursday.
Younger adults, black Americans and those who are already
obese consumed the highest amounts of such food, which is often
high in fat, salt and calories that can doom waistlines.
The CDC found in a separate report that while American
children, on average, are consuming fewer calories overall than
they used to, the percentage of their calories from
artery-clogging saturated fat was still above optimal levels.
Recommended U.S. guidelines suggest that no more than 10
percent of one's daily calories should come from such fat, but
American youth took in between 11 percent and 12 percent from
2009 to 2010, data from the CDC's National Center for Health
Americans' diets and weight is a source of constant scrutiny
and research in a country where two-thirds of the population is
considered overweight or obese. According to the CDC, 36 percent
of U.S. adults, or 78 million, and 17 percent of youth, or 12.5
million, are obese. Another third are overweight.
The slight decline in fast food consumption among adults
reflects a growing trend toward healthier options. Many food and
beverage companies have revamped their products or created new,
healthier options to account for the shift in consumer tastes.
Still, Americans lead the world in calorie consumption.
Portion sizes also have increased over the years, coupled with
an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, have added up to extra
pounds. Complications from obesity include diabetes, heart
disease, arthritis and some cancers.
"Previous studies have reported that more frequent fast-food
consumption is associated with higher energy and fat intake and
lower intake of healthful nutrients," CDC wrote.
Young black adults are especially a concern. Those aged 20
to 39 get more than one-fifth, or 21 percent, of their calories
from fast food versus whites and Hispanics in the same age group
who get about 15 percent from such foods, CDC found.
Obese and overweight adults also ate more fast food, it
Healthy weight is calculated by measuring body mass index,
or BMI, using height and weight. For example, a 5-foot, 6-inch
(1.7 meter) woman weighing 186 pounds (84 kilograms) would be
considered obese as would a 6-foot (1.8 meter) man weighing 221
pounds (100 kilograms).
The CDC also said that American boys aged 2 to 19 took in
about 2,100 calories daily during 2009 and 2010, a drop from
2,258 calories in 1999-2000. Girls saw their daily caloric
intake fall to 1,755 from 1,831 during the same timeframe.
It is not yet clear how the recent change has affected
childhood obesity rates, the agency added.
Among the other findings:
* The consumption of calories from fast food "significantly
decreased" with age;
* Fast food consumption was about the same for low-income
and higher-income adults;
* More children are eating more protein, except for black
* Carbohydrate consumption is lower among white boys and
girls as well as black boys.
(Editing by Doina Chiacu)