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Better eating habits, not bad economy, stabilized obesity rates
Date:1/23/2014

y the outcome of sustained and persistent public health efforts aimed at raising awareness about the importance of healthy eating, providing better information about food choices, and discouraging unhealthy dietary choices.

The researchers used both nationally representative dietary intake data along with longitudinal data on daily food purchases from hundreds of thousands of Americans. The study samples included combined datasets from the NHANES study, which covered households comprising 13,422 children and 10,791 adults from 2003-2011; and the Nielsen Homescan Panel, which contains food purchase data from 57,298 households with children and 108,932 households without children.

The data show that calories declined more among children than adults and that the proportional decline in calories was greatest among calories from beverages.

Researchers then turned their analysis to examining how much of this decline was the result of the Great Recession and the year of large increases in food prices preceding the recession. If we looked only at the impact of the increases in unemployment related to the Great Recession, the study showed that each 1 percent increase in the unemployment rate in the area where respondents lived was associated with a 2-4 kcal/capita/day increase in calories purchased. This is small relative to the major declines that occurred over time.

"This analysis is significant as we found the largest declines were among households with children. However these declines did not occur uniformly. There were no significant declines in caloric intake observed among adolescents (12-18y), non-Hispanic black children and those whose parents did not complete high school," said Barry Popkin, Distinguished Professor of nutrition at UNC Gillings. "This suggests that certain subpopulations are still unable or unwilling to make these dietary changes."

While Popkin noted that the specific contributors for these changes
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Contact: Thania Benios
thania_benios@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

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