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Report: Eating Healthier and Fewer Calories

Broccoli Cooking on StoveAmericans are eating almost 80 fewer calories each day than five years previous, making modest but significant cuts in fat and increases in fiber, according to a government report released last week that used the most recent data available.

The USDA report, Changes in Eating Patterns and Diet Quality Among Working-Age Adults, 2005-2010, also found that Americans are eating more of their calories at home rather than at restaurants or other places away from home. Food prepared outside the home links to unhealthier diets. Reduced consumption of food away from home (such as food from restaurants and fast food) accounted for 20 percent of the improvements in diet quality.

In 2010, Americans were consuming 127 fewer calories away from home compared to 2005-6, a drop of almost 5 percent of total calories. Fast food calories also dropped.

Total calories from fat was approximately 3 percent lower compared to 2005-6, fiber intake increased 1.2 grams per day, an increase of almost 8 percent relative to 2005-06.

When shopping for food, more adults reported using the Nutrition Facts Panel and package health claims always or most of the time in 2009-10 compared with 2007-08, the earliest years to compare the survey question. Forty-two percent of working age adults and 57 percent of older adults reported looking at a food's Nutrition Facts most or all of the time when making food choices.

The report used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Source: United States Department of Agriculture. "Changes in Eating Patterns and Diet Quality Among Working-Age Adults, 2005-2010." January 2014.

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