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Weight and Obesity

CDC Says Carbs to Blame for Rising Calorie Intake

14 years, 6 months ago

765  0
Posted on Feb 12, 2004, 9 a.m. By Bill Freeman

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Americans, especially women, are consuming far more calories than they did three decades ago, and the increasingly dreaded carbohydrate food group is to blame, according to a federal study released on Thursday. The finding, revealed in a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, comes amid repeated government warnings of a growing obesity epidemic in the nation as well as an explosion in the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets.

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Americans, especially women, are consuming far more calories than they did three decades ago, and the increasingly dreaded carbohydrate food group is to blame, according to a federal study released on Thursday.

The finding, revealed in a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, comes amid repeated government warnings of a growing obesity epidemic in the nation as well as an explosion in the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets.

Obesity, which increases the likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, some types of cancer and arthritis, has become twice as common in the nation since 1980. About 39 million Americans were obese in 2000, according to the U.S. government.

CDC researchers found that women between the ages of 20 and 74 consumed an average 1,877 calories per day in 2000, 22 percent more than in 1971. The average intake for males in the same age group was up 8 percent to 2,618 calories in 2000.

The percentage of daily calories that came from carbohydrates, which include rice, bread and pasta, rose to 51.6 percent from 45.4 percent in women and to 49 percent from 42.4 percent in men during the period.

The study did not examine the reasons for the increase in carbohydrate intake, though the CDC noted that previous research had linked it to consumption of pizza, salty snacks and take-away foods as well as bigger portions.

Jacqueline Wright, the lead author of the study, noted that the findings should not be seen as supporting the Atkins diet or any other food regimen that stressed low or no consumption of carbohydrates.

"I think we need to focus on total calorie intakes," said Wright, an epidemiologist with the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

The study also found that consumption of fat, including saturated fat, which can clog arteries and lead to heart disease, represented a smaller percent of daily calories by the end of the 30-year period.

The actual number of fat grams consumed per day, however, changed little between 1971 and 2000 due to the rising calorie consumption, Wright said. Protein intake for both men and women remained about the same.

© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.

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