Rate of Overweight U.S. Residents Remains at 62% in 2004, Survey Finds
The rate of overweight U.S. residents remained at about 62% in 2004, according to an annual NPD Group market survey on dietary habits released on Wednesday, Long Island Newsday reports. The rate of overweight U.S. residents had increased every year since 1995, when NPD Group first began to conduct the survey. For the survey, NPD researchers examined information from about 40 databases used to track the dietary habits of U.S. residents over a one-year period that ended in February.
According to the survey, 27% of respondents in 2004 were aware of the amount of calories that they consumed -- the highest level since 1999. The survey also found that the rate of participants who were concerned about sugar in their diets had increased. In addition, the number of snack meals consumed by respondents decreased to 250 per individual in 2004 from 253 per individual in 1999.
In 2004, respondents ate in restaurants an average of 83 times, compared with 95 times in 1985, and they ate take-out food an average of 117 times, about the same number of times as in 2003, according to the survey. In addition, the survey found that respondents ate an average of 77% of their meals at home in 2004, about the same rate as in 2003.
Although the results of the survey appear "promising," some experts said that they "should be approached with caution," according to Newsday.
Barry Popkin, director of nutrition epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, said, "I want to be a little cautious before we run out and say, 'Hey, Americans have changed their diet!'" Popkin also raised concerns that survey respondents were not representative of the general U.S. population.
Alice Lichtenstein, a professor of nutrition science and policy at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, added, "I wouldn't start celebrating because still the number of overweight and obese individuals in the United States is extremely high" (Hill, AP/Long Island Newsday, 10/13).