Calorie Consumption on the Rise in United States, Particularly Among Women

For Release: February 5, 2004

Contact: NCHS/CDC Public Affairs, (301) 458-4800


Trends in Intake of Energy and Macronutrients, United States, 1971-2000, Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report. Volume 53(04), February 6, 2004.

Americans are consuming more calories than they did 30 years ago, and the rate of increase is three times greater in women than men, according to the latest analysis of the diet of the U.S. population published in the February 6 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The study finds U.S. women increased their daily calorie consumption 22 percent between 1971 and 2000, from 1542 calories per day to 1877 calories. During the same period the calorie intake for men increased 7 percent from 2450 calories per day to 2618 calories.

The increase in calories is mainly due to an increase in carbohydrate consumption. Men increased the percentage of their daily calorie intake resulting from carbohydrates from 42.4 percent to 49 percent. Women increased their carbohydrate consumption from 45.4 percent of daily calorie intake to 51.6 percent.

The study also finds that the percent of calories Americans take in from fat has decreased, with most of the drop in saturated fat intake. However, the actual number of fat grams consumed per day has changed little since 1971 due to the increase in overall calories consumed daily. Protein consumption for both men and women remained about the same from 1971 to 2000.

The study was based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. It describes trends in the daily consumption of total calories and the number and percentage of calories from fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates and protein over the past three decades.

Dietary intake was based on individual recall from the past 24 hours and uses information on nutrient content of foods from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Survey Nutrient Database.

“Trends in Intake of Energy and macronutrients– United States, 1971-2000” is available at the CDC/NCHS Web Site or in the current issue of MMWR. For more information on the survey, go to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Web Site.


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