It’s official: we’re a nation of noshers.
We kick off the day with breakfast—no skipping that most important meal of the day—but then we pretty much leave our mouths open and graze straight through to dinner. So says the most recent analysis of government data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES).
In the late 1970’s, 40% of Americans said that they didn’t typically eat between-meal snacks. With 3 meals a day for most, the average number of eating occasions was 3.9 per day. Today we’re skipping more meals but snacking so frequently that we have pushed daily eating occasions up to 10. Just 4% of Americans say they don’t regularly snack, with most reporting 3 or more snacks a day.
What lunch break?
Americans are now more likely to skip lunch than breakfast. 85% reported eating breakfast the previous day, while only 80% reported eating lunch.
We like pizza. A lot.
In the late 1970’s, just 6% of kids and teens and 3% of adults reported eating pizza the previous day. Today those numbers have more than tripled for all of us, with 10% of adults and 20% of 2-19 year olds reporting a pizza snack or meal in the last 24 hours.
We eat pitifully little fruit.
That’s been consistent. Since the late 1970’s, fruit consumption has held steady at 0.9 portions per day, and that includes fruit juices.
More of us are eating our vegetables.
Just not so many of them. While 25% of Americans today report eating fruits or vegetables in the previous 24 hours, the average is just a combined 1.9 servings in a day. In the 1970’s only 12% ate their fruits and veggies, but they typically consumed 2.6 portions.
Got milk? Not much.In the 1970’s, 64% of the population (children and adults) had drunk a glass of milk in the previous day. Today the majority of Americans, 54%, don’t regularly drink milk.
You can find the full report at the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. NHANES is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has produced vital and health statistics for the nation for 50 years.