How Many Americans Now on Special Diets?

Almost one in five adults in the U.S. said they ate a “special diet” from 2015 to 2018, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data showed.

Among adults ages 20 and older, 17.1% reported that they stuck to a special diet on any given day, according to Bryan Stierman, MD, MPH, of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues.

This percentage is substantially bigger than in previous years: 14.3% of U.S. adults followed any special type of diet in 2007 to 2008.

“About one-half of U.S. adults have diet-related chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes,” the researchers wrote. “Special diets are one way that many adults prevent, treat, and manage such diseases.”

The study, published as an NCHS Data Brief, also pinpointed a low-calorie or weight-loss oriented diet as the most popular choice of diet, used by nearly 10% of all adults. Next was a diabetic diet, followed by 2.3% of adults on any given day, followed by low-carbohydrate (2%) and low-fat or low-cholesterol diets (1.8%).

Stierman’s group drew upon data from the cross-sectional NHANES. Dietary information was obtained via 23-hour dietary recall interviews with trained interviewers. “Special diets” were considered to be an affirmative response to the question: “Are you currently on any kind of diet, either to lose weight or for some other health-related reason?”

There was some variance of diet popularity according to age group, but a weight loss or low-calorie diet was overwhelmingly the favorite across every age group, Stierman and co-authors reported.

Diabetic diets were nearly twice as popular among those age 60 and over, used by about 4.7% of these adults. A low-sodium diet was another of the most popular diets among this older group (3%). Overall, more adults in this age group used any type of special diet compared with any other age group.

Interestingly, a “weight gain” diet was followed by 0.7% of those between the ages of 20 and 39, but not by any of the other age groups.

By 2017-2018, the popularity of weight loss and low-carb diets had a significant gain in popularity compared with 2007-2008. On the other hand, low-fat and low-cholesterol diets dropped off significantly in popularity, possibly due to the recent rising trend for the ketogenic diet, the researchers speculated.

Adherence to special diets also varied according to sex and race. Specifically, women tended to diet more than men, with 19% of U.S. women reported being on a diet on any given day vs 15.1% of men. And more than 20% of women over the age of 40 adhered to a special diet, the data showed.

More so than any other race, white adults were more likely to adhere to a special diet, with about 18% of non-Hispanic white adults reporting sticking to a diet. About 16.4% of Hispanic adults stuck to a diet, while only 14.7% and 14.9% of Black and Asian adults, respectively, reported dieting.

When broken down by educational levels,

Read more

Fact check: Trump falsely claims California requires people to wear ‘special’ and ‘complex’ mask at all times

At a campaign rally in Arizona on Wednesday — at which there was no social distancing and most attendees did not wear masks — Trump started mocking what he claimed are the mask requirements in California.

“In California, you have a special mask. You cannot, under any circumstances, take it off. You have to eat through the mask,” the President said.

He continued: “It’s a very complex mechanism. And they don’t realize, those germs, they go through it like nothing. They look at you with that contraption and they say, ‘That’s an easy one. …’ “

Moments later, Trump joked that a meal of spaghetti and meat sauce would mess up a mask someone was forced to wear while eating. The crowd laughed. But the President sounded serious enough when he made his other assertions about California’s mask rules that his claims are worth fact-checking.

Facts First: Trump’s story was false. Californians are not required to wear “complex” or “special” masks; basic face coverings, even homemade ones, are acceptable there. Though Gov. Gavin Newsom has imposed a statewide mask order, Californians are not required to wear masks at all times; they can remove them when at home, when alone in a room outside their home, when outdoors more than 6 feet from others, and when eating or drinking. And while people can transmit the coronavirus or get infected with it while wearing masks, face masks have proven effective in reducing the chances of transmission; they are much better than “nothing.”
Trump’s comments about Californians being forced to eat through their masks appeared to be a reference to an early-October tweet from Newsom’s office that told people “don’t forget to keep your mask on in between bites” when going out to eat with members of their households. The tweet was widely mocked, particularly in conservative circles.

Despite the tweet, California does not have a requirement to wear a mask in between bites at a restaurant. Newsom played down the tweet, saying at a virtual news conference that it was posted by “a staff member” and that its intent was merely to say that “if you’re just gonna read a book at a dinner table, it might be good after a while to put on a mask.”

Top health officials in the federal government, including National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield, have emphasized that the widespread use of masks is critical to the fight against the virus.

Source Article

Read more