Why the US is so fat

Australian researchers have figured it out: we eat too much. This was a really interesting study. They compared national food supply data from the 1970s and the early 2000s. Given the weight distribution of the US population in the 1970s, and the increase in per capita food consumption from 1970 to 2000, they could estimate how the weight distribution would change by 2000. The result:

According to the researchers, the predicted and actual weight increase in children matched exactly, indicating that the increase in caloric intake alone could explain the additional pounds. Adults gained less than the data predicted—18.9 pounds versus 23.8 pounds—which “suggests that excess food intake still explains the weight gain, but there may have been increases in physical activity over the 30 years that have blunted what would otherwise have been a higher weight gain,”

Using the methodology in the study, adults would have to cut back their daily caloric intake by about 500 calories per day to revert to the weight distribution of the 1970s.


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