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Smoking, Soda, and So Much More

by Elizabeth Mendes

Gallup's annual Consumption Habits survey provides information on everything from who's a vegetarian, to what Americans spend on food, to how many adults drink and smoke. Gallup has been monitoring certain health behaviors in the United States for many years, enabling us to explore long-term trends, some of which date back to the 1940s.

Here are five key findings from the 2012 survey:

  1. Smoking falls to tie the all-time low: 20% of adults in the U.S. said they smoked a cigarette "in the past week," matching what Gallup found in 2009 for the lowest level on record. This is also less than half what the smoking rate was back in the 1940s. (FYI, Gallup and Healthways also track Americans' smoking habits daily as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index and find similar results.)
  2. Americans spend an average $151 a week on food: This rises to $180 a week for high-income Americans and falls as low as $127 a week for the low-income. Americans are also spending less on food now than in the past, when adjusting for inflation.
  3. About half of American adults drink soda every day: 48% of Americans drink at least one glass of soda per day and among those who do, the average daily amount consumed is 2.6 glasses.
  4. Americans' concerns about obesity soar: 81% of Americans say obesity is an extremely or very serious societal problem, up from 69% in 2005. Americans are now more worried about the issue of obesity than they are about smoking.
  5. Americans say low-fat diets better than low-carb: 63% of Americans say a diet low in fat is more beneficial to one's health, while 30% believe low-carb is the better option.

Explore more health and well-being insights on the well-being homepage, including weekly, monthly, and quarterly data updates on Americans' life ratings, mood, health insurance status, and weight situation.

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