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More than one-third of American adults eat fast food on any given day, despite warnings about its impact on health and obesity, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Wednesday. The rate is especially high for young adults and gradually drops with age.
“Fast-food consumption has been associated with increased intake of calories, fat and sodium,” the CDC noted while reporting the prevalence of what medical experts have long considered an unhealthy eating habit, often associated with diabetes and heart disease.
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But it’s cheap, quick, convenient and readily available, the report added, explaining fast food’s lasting popularity.
The study, the first federal examination of adult fast-food eating habits, is based on a survey of about 10,000 adults from 2013 to 2016.
Almost half (44.9 percent) of 20- to 39-year-olds eat fast food on a given day, the survey found. The rate drops to 37.7 percent for those ages 40 to 59 and to 24.1 percent for those 60 and older.
Older men (25.6 percent) are slightly more likely than older women (22.7 percent) to make fast food a daily habit.
Among all adults surveyed:
• African American adults (42.4 percent) had a higher rate of fast-food consumption than non-Hispanic whites (37.6 percent). Somewhat lower rates were found for Hispanic adults (35.5 percent) and Asians (30.6 percent).
• The rich are more likely than the poor to turn to fast food. Some 42 percent of higher-income adults eat it on a given day, and the rate drops to 36.4 percent for those of middle income and to 31.7 percent for those of lower income.
• Adults eat fast food most often at lunch (43.7 percent), followed by dinner (42.0 percent), breakfast (22.7 percent) and as a snack (22.6 percent).