Reporting on health and quality of life in South LA

Fast food makes up more than 11 percent of average adult's daily calories

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One finding of a new federal report was that as people get older, they eat less fast food.

More than 11 percent of the average adult's daily calories come from fast food, according to a new federal report – but that's less than it was about a decade ago.

A data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics looked at how much fast food contributed to adults' daily caloric intake between 2007 and 2010, and compared that to the period between 2003 and 2006.

Between 2003 and 2006, an average of 12.8 percent of the calories adults consumed every day came courtesy of fast food joints.

That proportion dipped to 11.3 percent between 2007 and 2010.

The report's other findings:

  • The percentage of daily calories that come from fast food is higher among black adults than other ethnicities. More than 21 percent of the daily calories consumed by black adults between 20 and 39 years of age comes from fast food.
  • As people get older, they eat much less fast food. For folks between 20 and 39, 15.3 percent of their daily calories come from fast food; for their elderly counterparts, that drops to 6 percent.
  • Overall, there didn't seem to be a difference in how many daily calories came from fast food based on income. But researchers did find that as young adults became richer, they ate less fast food.

Federal researchers also found that as people grew heavier, the percentage of their total daily calories that came from fast food increased.

"For each age group, obese adults consumed the highest percentage of their calories from fast food," they wrote.

Obesity rates in South Los Angeles are among the highest in the county – 33 percent of southside adults qualify – and L.A. City Councilwoman Jan Perry, who oversees the ninth district, hasn't been shy about attributing that, at least in part, to the overwhelming prevalence of cheap fast food joints in the area.

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