When I last wrote about food consumption in the United States ("U.S. Food Consumption and Obesity," Parts I-IV)1-4 in 2003, the most up-to-date statistics I could find were six years old and were based on disappearance data.The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) Web site is where I found this information.5 The ERS has made a few changes in its presentation, the biggest of which is an estimate of the amount of food we do not eat.
Estimating food consumption by food disappearance statistics is accomplished as follows: Total production is added to the beginning food stocks and total imports. Farm use, industrial use, exports, and ending stocks are then subtracted. Thus, the disappearance data is the amount of food that disappears. This is greater than the amount of food actually consumed.
There is now a rough estimation on the amount of food lost from the farm to the mouth. Losses occur at every step of production, from growing to processing, transporting, packaging, retail, restaurant, cooking, spillage, spoilage and plate waste. The USDA's ERS calculates that the above losses account for 25 percent of the disappearance data. Therefore, the numbers in the tables (below and top right) are much more accurate than the data presented in my previous four-part series. In this article, let's examine the data from 1970-1995.
|U.S. Food Supply Per-Capita Calories: Calories Per Person Per Day|
|Year||Calories per |
person per day
| Per-Capita Consumption Data: Food (1970-1995) |
| Per-Capita Consumption Data: Beverages (1970-1995) |
Like my "U.S. Food Consumption and Obesity" series, based on straight disappearance data, these new statistics, adjusted for losses, still yield the same conclusion: Blaming obesity on one food group is simply incorrect. Next month, we'll examine data from 1999-2003.
- Andersen GD. U.S. food consumption and obesity, part I. Dynamic Chiropractic, March 24, 2003: www.chiroweb.com/archives/21/07/01.html.
- Andersen GD. U.S. food consumption and obesity, part II. Dynamic Chiropractic, April 21, 2003: www.chiroweb.com/archives/21/09/02.html.
- Andersen GD. U.S. food consumption and obesity, part III. Dynamic Chiropractic, May 19, 2003: www.chiroweb.com/archives/21/11/02.html.
- Andersen GD. U.S. food consumption and obesity, part IV. Dynamic Chiropractic, June 16, 2003: www.chiroweb.com/archives/21/13/01.html.
G. Douglas Andersen, DC, DACBSP, CCN
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