NEW YORK — After decades of worsening diets and sharp increases in obesity, our nation’s eating habits have begun changing for the better.
Calories consumed daily by the typical US adult, which peaked around 2003, are in the midst of their first sustained decline since federal statistics began to track the subject four decades ago. The calories the average US child take in daily has fallen even more, by at least 9 percent.
The declines cut across most major demographic groups, including higher- and lower-income families, and blacks and whites. In a striking shift, the amount of full-calorie soda drunk by the average American has dropped 25 percent since the late 1990s.
Obesity rates appear to have stopped rising for adults and school-aged children and have come down for the youngest children, although more than a third of US adults are still considered obese.
“People are hearing the message, and diet is slowly improving,” said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.