Has The National Obesity Rate Peaked? Americans Are Finally Eating Less, Data Says

After decades of expanding waistlines and a market oversaturated with fast and processed foods, our diets may finally be turning around. New data analysis from The New York Times has revealed that for the first time, we are seeing a downward trend in average caloric intake for adults. Soda consumption is down too, especially for kids, and obesity rates are beginning to level off. Is this the beginning of a nutritious upswing for America, the second most obese nation in the world?

According to data in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the average American caloric intake peaked in 2003, and has been on a mostly steady decline since then.  The most dramatic difference in the American diet is that soda consumption has dropped by 25 percent in the past two decades.

The diet of the average American child is a little bit more complex. Although children are consuming nine percent fewer calories, they are also eating more sweets. At the same time, soda consumption among the underage set has dropped off by 79 percent, and children are eating more vegetables.

Experts claim that this shift started occurring in the late '90s as health awareness grew and people began to understand that they were eating and drinking too much.

"This was like a freight train going downhill without brakes," Kelly Brownell, dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, told The New York Times. "Anything slowing it down is good."