Jan 16, 2014 5:14 PM GMT
Americans are beginning to consume fewer calories and eat at home more often, according to a government study released Thursday that suggests the nation's diet is taking a slightly healthier turn.
Working-age adults consumed an average of 118 fewer calories a day in 2009-10 than four years earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture study. These Americans reported eating more home-cooked meals with their families and reading nutritional labels on food at grocery stores more often.
Although the improvements may be partially attributed to cash-strapped Americans eating at home more often during the recession, "most of the improvements in diet quality were not due to a decline in food away from home consumption," said Jessica Todd, a USDA economist who wrote the report.
The decline appeared to be more influenced by "an increase in consumer focus on nutrition in selecting foods, changes in the quality of foods available and greater nutritional information available to consumers," she said.
Overall, the study suggests that working-age Americans are more cognizant now of what they eat and are trying to adopt somewhat healthier diets.Respondents reported eating meals with less saturated fat and more fiber in 2010 compared with four years earlier.
USDA economists collected data from a total of 9,839 people, using three cycles of surveys from 2005 through 2010.