One hurdle to shifting to a healthier diet is the fear that you’re missing out on some of the caloric goodness that others are enjoying. However, there’s mounting evidence that those curbing their calories may have a lot of company.
The fast food nation is making a change for the better as new research has shown that the amount of daily calories Americans are consuming is steadily declining for the first time in 40 years, a NY Times article reports.
A number of nutrition researchers credit the change to growing awareness of the health damages caused from eating too much and the financial risks those damages create. Recently, there have also been various health initiatives across the country, such as Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, which focuses on getting kids active. Public schools have been upgraded to serve healthier food in cafeterias and, according to the article, children are consuming at least 9% fewer calories. Even full-calorie soda consumption has gone down, dropping 25% when compared to the late 1990’s.
In response to decreasing calorie intake, the rate of obesity has stopped rising. And these statistics are true across all ethnicities and levels of income.
There are many factors that the article suggests are at play here, including Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act that required chain restaurants to publish calorie totals alongside meals. Americans have greater access to knowledge than ever before, and companies have adjusted to this change. Take for instance the surge in popularity of diet sodas, with Diet Coke successfully signing pop singer Taylor Swift, or Starbucks’ 10oz Mini Frappuccinos, a direct response to consumer suggestions.
Though the research says there hasn’t been a single turning point to prompt this change, Americans appear to be waking up to the importance of diet and don’t want to deal with the long-term financial burden of eating poorly.