Health Benefits and Perks

60+ Nutrition Statistics

From the prevalence of obesity to sodium intake and children's nutrition -explore over 60 nutrition statistics, shedding light on the impact of dietary habits on health and well-being.
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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. (Health Data, 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) 
  • Over $42.6 billion in financial investments have been made worldwide to take action on nutrition. (Global Nutrition Report, 2023) 

Nutrition Trends

  • 52% of respondents reported they consider the ingredient list when they buy food and beverages. (Food Insight, 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 US 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. (Statista, 2015) 
  • 64% of adults reported that they prepare home-cooked meals for breakfast and lunch. (Statista, 2016) 
  • 50% of GenZs and 65% of Millennials believe their food choices impact the environment. (Food Insight, 2023) 
  • 39%, or four in ten Americans, consider environmental sustainability when buying foods and beverages. (Food Insight, 2023) 
  • GenZs are the only generation that says that foods, beverages, and nutrients benefit their emotional and mental health. (Food Insight, 2023) 
  • 30% of Americans have changed their diet and nutrition habits to reduce or manage stress. (Food Insight, 2023) 
  • 73% of Americans snack at least once daily because they are hungry or thirsty (34%) or view snacks as treats (25%). (Food Insight, 2023) 
  • Those who are stressed are likelier to snack three or more times daily. (Food Insight, 2023) 
  • 37% of Americans seek energy and less fatigue from foods, nutrients, and beverages. (Food Insight, 2023) 
  • Younger generations, 31% of GenZs and 30% of Millennials, prefer low or no-calorie sweeteners than older generations. (Food Insight, 2023) 
  • 73% of Americans are trying to limit or avoid sugar intake. (Food Insight, 2023) 

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, 2018) 
  • 118.5 million, or 89.9% of US households, were food secure in 2021. (USDA, 2022) 
  • 13.5 million, or 10.2%, experienced food insecurity sometime in 2021. (USDA, 2022) 
  • 8.4 million, or 6.4%, had low food security in 2021. (USDA, 2022) 
  • 5.1 million, or 3.8%, experienced inadequate food security sometime in 2021. (USDA, 2022) 
  • 87.5% of households with children under 18 were food secure in 2021. (USDA, 2022) 
  • Food insecurity affected 12.5% of households with children under 18. Of 6.3%, only adults were food insecure, whereas, in 6.2% of households with children, both adults and children were insecure. (USDA, 2022) 

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) 
  • According to dietary guidelines, individuals should consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily, and even less for children under 14. (Dietary Guidelines, 2020) 
  • However, the average sodium intake per person is 3,393 milligrams per day. (Dietary Guidelines, 2020) 
  • The top sources of excess sodium intake are sandwiches (21%), rice, pasta, or other grain-based dishes (8%), and other sources (19%). (Dietary Guidelines, 2020) 
  • The average daily sodium intake recommendation is 2,300 mg. However, both men and women exceed this number, with 4,000 mg daily sodium intake for men and 3,000 mg for women. (Dietary Guidelines, 2020) 

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) 
  • 32% of infants in the US start intaking complementary food before four months old. (Dietary Guidelines, 2020) 
  • About 60% of children aged 2 to 4 consume an adequate amount of fruit. (Dietary Guidelines, 2020)  
  • The Healthy Eating Index score for children ages two to four is 61 out of 100, and it gets lower the older they get. (Dietary Guidelines, 2020) 
  • Almost all children intake double the amount of sodium than recommended. (Dietary Guidelines, 2020) 
 

Weight Management And Diets

  • 71% of people believe they could eat healthier. (Statista, 2015) 
  • 8.9of adult men have diabetes, compared to 6.9% of women. (Global Nutrition Report2022)  
  • 40.2% of American women and 39% of American men have obesity. (Global Nutrition Report2022)  
  • 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%). (Food Insight, 2018) 
  • 16% of americans are following a carbohydrate-restricted diet. ( Food Insight, 2018) 
  • In 2022, half of Americans said they follow a diet or an eating pattern. (Food Insight, 2023) 
  • The most common diets and eating patterns they follow are clean eating (16%), mindful eating (14%), calorie counting (13%), and plant-based diets (12%). (Food Insight, 2023) 
  • Americans’ top motivators for dieting are protecting long-term health (35%) and losing weight (34%). (Food Insight, 2023) 
  • Gen Zs are motivated to diet by improving their physical appearance (50%) and wanting to better manage a health condition (43%). (Food Insight, 2023) 
  • 30% of Americans try to lose or manage weight with food, beverages, or nutrients. (Food Insight, 2023) 
 

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. 

Written by shortlister editorial team

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60+ Nutrition Statistics

From the prevalence of obesity to sodium intake and children’s nutrition -explore over 60 nutrition statistics, shedding light on the impact of dietary habits on health and well-being.