Trends in energy intake among adults in the United States: findings from NHANES

Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;97(4):848-53. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.052662. Epub 2013 Feb 20.


Background: Energy intake is a key determinant of weight.

Objective: Our objective was to examine trends in energy intake in adults in the United States from 1971-1975 to 2009-2010.

Design: The study was a trend analysis of 9 national surveys in the United States that included data from 63,761 adults aged 20-74 y.

Results: Adjusted mean energy intake increased from 1955 kcal/d during 1971-1975 to 2269 kcal/d during 2003-2004 and then declined to 2195 kcal/d during 2009-2010 (P-linear trend < 0.001, P-nonlinear trend < 0.001). During the period from 1999-2000 to 2009-2010, no significant linear trend in energy intake was observed (P = 0.058), but a significant nonlinear trend was noted (P = 0.042), indicating a downward trend in energy intake. Significant decreases in energy intake from 1999-2000 to 2009-2010 were noted for participants aged 20-39 y, men, women, and participants with a BMI (in kg/m(2)) of 18.5 to <25 and ≥30.

Conclusion: After decades of increases, mean energy intake has decreased significantly since 2003-2004.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Diet / trends*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Obesity*
  • Reference Values
  • United States
  • Young Adult