STATCAST – Week of July 8, 2019

New NCHS Report Released on Total Grains Intake


NCHS conducts the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES, which looks in great detail at the dietary habits among Americans of all ages. This is done through a 24 hour dietary recall interview with survey participants visiting the NHANES Mobile Examination Centers. The result is a wealth of data which helps drive nutritional policy in the United States.

This week, a new NHANES study looks at the topic of whole grains in the diet of American adults. Whole grains and refined grains are the two sources of total grain intake. Other studies have shown that a higher intake of whole grains is linked with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancers, and mortality.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2015–2020 recommends that at least half of total grain intake in the adult diet should include whole grains. The new report by NCHS provides estimates on the percentage of total grains intake consumed from whole grains, among adults age 20 and up who reported any grain consumption on a given day during the years 2013 thru 2016.  

The study found that whole grains accounted for nearly 16% of total grains intake among adults on any given day. This percentage increased with age: from 13% among adults ages 20–39 to nearly 20% for adults ages 60 and over.

Over the span of a decade, from 2005-2006 to 2015-2016, whole grains have made up an increasing proportion of total grain intake among adults.