30+ Nutrition statistics

The definition of healthy eating has been redefined over the years. Even though the amount of conflicting diet advice can be confusing, the fundamentals remain the same. A balanced diet can have significant benefits and improve both longevity and quality of life.   Below are some of the latest nutrition trends, stats, and facts

Important factor

  • Diet is the number one factor impacting health (Healthdata, 2013) 
  • The top three states that reported healthy eating habits such as eating more servings of vegetables are Vermont, Montana, and Washington (Gallup, 2014) 
  • The bottom three states that reported having the least healthy eating habits are Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Missouri (Gallup, 2014) 
  • Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function, reduced absenteeism, and better mood (CDC, 2019) 

Nutrition trends

  • 52% of respondents reported they consider the ingredient list when they buy food and beverages (Foodinsight, 2016) 
  • Younger generations are giving up meat; 7.5% of Millennials and Gen Z consider themselves vegetarians, that’s nearly double the rate of older Americans (Statista, 2019) 
  • 44% of U.S. adults stated to actively try to include organic food in their diet (Gallup, 2015) 
  • 12% of people follow a gluten-free diet to feel healthier, 19% because of a gluten allergy (NSF, 2015) 
  • 64% of adults reported that they prepare home-cooked meals for breakfast and lunch (Statista, 2016) 

Intake deficiencies and excess

  • Americans consume over the recommended levels of calories from solid fats, sodium, added sugars, refined grains, and saturated fat (Health.gov, 2010) 
  • Americans consume under the recommended amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, dairy products, and oils (Health.gov, 2010) 
  • Only 12.2% of adults meet the daily fruit intake recommendation, and just 9.3% meet the daily vegetable recommendation (CDC, 2018) 
  • The national average for fruit and vegetable produce consumption was 57.7% in 2013 (Gallup, 2014) 

Food security

  • 14.3 million households in the U.S. were food insecure at some time during 2018, meaning they had insufficient funds to acquire food (USDA, 2018) 
  • 37.2 million people live in food-insecure households, 6.8% of the U.S. population had low food security, and 4.3% had very low food security (USDA, 2018) 
  • 29.7 million people live in food deserts, which are low-income areas more than 1 mile away from a supermarket (USDA, 2012) 

Sodium Intake

  • Americans on average consume 3,200 mg of sodium per day, that’s well above the recommended guidelines of 2,300 mg per day (FDA, 2020) 
  • About 90% of Americans consume too much sodium (CDC, 2012) 
  • If Americans consume an average of 1,200 mg of sodium per day, it will reduce health care costs by $20 billion every year (CDC, 2012) 

Child nutrition

  • Top sources of energy for 2- to 18-year-olds are grain desserts, pizza, and soda (PubMed, 2010) 
  • Empty calories from added sugars and solid fats contribute to nearly 40% of 2- to 18-year-olds total energy consumption (PubMed, 2010) 
  • Children consume half of their daily calories at school (CDC, 2019) 
  • 10% of the total caloric intake of children and adolescents comes from sugar-sweetened beverages (CDC, 2019) 
  • USDA administers $23 billion every year to Food and Nutrition programs; more than 61% of that money is allocated to the National School Lunch Program (USDA, 2018) 
  • Across 48 states, a median of 44.8% of middle and high schools offer a salad bar to students (CDC, 2018) 

Weight management and diets

  • 71% of people believe they could eat healthier (Statista, 2015) 
  • 8.2% of adult men have diabetes, compared to 6.4% of women (Globalnutritionreport) 
  • 37% of American women and 35.5% of American men have obesity (Globalnutritionreport) 
  • The average daily consumption of calories per person has increased by approximately 600 calories (Health.gov, 2010) 
  • One-third of consumers follow diets; the most popular ones are intermittent fasting (10%), Paleo (7%), and low-card (5%) (Foodinsight, 2018) 
  • 16% of Americans are following a carbohydrate-restricted diet (Foodinsight, 2018) 

A nutritious diet is crucial to the emotional and mental health, as well as physical wellbeing. It is never too late to change your eating habits and improve your mood, how you feel and how you look.