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Calorie Intake Too The Us Obesity Epidemic

Between 1960 together with 2008, the prevalence of obesity inwards U.S. adults increased from thirteen to 34 percent, together with the prevalence of extreme obesity increased from 0.9 to half dozen per centum (NHANES surveys).  This major shift inwards population fatness is called the "obesity epidemic".


What caused the obesity epidemic?  As I've noted inwards my writing together with talks, the obesity epidemic was paralleled yesteryear an increment inwards daily calorie intake that was sufficiently large to fully describe of piece of work concern human relationship for it.  There are 2 primary sources of information for U.S. calorie intake.  The outset is NHANES surveys conducted yesteryear the Centers for Disease Control.  They periodically collect information on nutrient intake using questionnaires, together with these surveys confirm that calorie intake has increased.  The work amongst the NHANES nutrient intake information is that they're self-reported together with thus dependent plain to major reporting errors.  However, NHANES surveys render the best character (objectively measured) information on obesity prevalence since 1960, which we'll move using inwards this post.


The instant rootage of information on calorie intake is the USDA Economic Research Service (1).  The ERS estimates nutrient consumption based on production.  The information are freely available together with or together with so of them larn all the agency dorsum to 1909.  Despite the limitations of this method, I've come upwards to believe that the ERS database is the most accurate together with consummate tape of U.S. nutrient intake available.  After appropriate adjustments*, ERS information exhibit that on average, US adults consumed 363 to a greater extent than calories per twenty-four hours inwards 2009 than nosotros did inwards 1960.

If nosotros plot calorie intake together with obesity prevalence on the same graph, the correspondence is striking, but it entirely occurred to me of late to endeavor to position them both into a scatterplot.  Scatterplots straight plot ane variable vs. or together with so other (i.e., ane on the horizontal axis together with ane on the vertical axis), together with they are useful for determining how tightly 2 variables are correlated.  The to a greater extent than tightly the 2 variables are correlated, the improve the points approximate a diagonal line.  When I plot calorie intake vs. obesity prevalence betwixt 1961 together with 2006, the correlation is striking:

The R-squared value quantifies the forcefulness of the correlation, amongst a value ranging betwixt 0 together with 1.  The R-squared value of 0.93 indicates an extremely potent correlation betwixt calorie intake together with the prevalence of obesity, together with this correlation is highly statistically significant.  The gradient of the "best lucifer line" likewise allows us to pull or together with so other conclusion: each 100-calorie increment corresponds to a 4.2 per centum increment inwards the prevalence of obesity.

When nosotros view extreme obesity (BMI greater than 40), nosotros run across a similar correlation:


The ERS information likewise permit us to await at the macronutrients carbohydrate, fat, together with protein.  Let's run across how they correlate amongst the prevalence of obesity, starting amongst carbohydrate:


The correlation amongst saccharide isn't quite equally potent equally amongst calories, but it's even together with so extremely strong.  How virtually fat?


Again, the correlation is slightly weaker than amongst total calories, but even together with so extremely strong.  How virtually protein?


Surprisingly, this was the strongest correlation of all-- at an R-squared value of 0.94, it slightly surpasses the correlation forcefulness of total calories.

Conclusions

Here's what the graphs show:
  • We're eating to a greater extent than calories than nosotros used to.
  • There is a very potent human relationship betwixt the publish of calories nosotros eat together with the prevalence of obesity inwards the US.
  • The extra calories are coming from carbohydrate, fat, together with protein, together with increased intake of all 3 tightly correlate amongst increased obesity prevalence.
In other words, we're eating to a greater extent than of everything than nosotros did l years ago.  

This begs the question, why are nosotros eating to a greater extent than of everything?  There are multiple reasons for it, but I described or together with so of the most compelling explanations inwards my verbalize Why Do We Overeat?  These same concepts cast the terra firma of the Ideal Weight Program.


* Gross values reduced yesteryear 28.8% to describe of piece of work concern human relationship for waste materials betwixt production together with consumption (adjustment determined yesteryear the ERS).  Also adjusted for an artifact inwards 2000 that results from a modify inwards the liquid oils assessment method together with artificially inflates fatty intake.
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