Calorie intake varies around the world. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the USDA, Americans consume more calories every day than any other society in the world. This could account for the fact that the United States is also the fattest country in the world, with more than 30 percent of the population falling into the obese category. Asian countries have very low rates of obesity in comparison. A little more than 3 percent of the population in Japan and South Korea are obese.
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According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, the average American consumes more than 3,600 calories per day. This is 20 percent higher than the average in the 1970s. The average for Europe is a little lower, at 3,394 calories per day.
Numbers go down as you move into more impoverished areas of the world. For example, the average calorie consumption in developing Asian countries is 2,648 calories per day. In Sub-Saharan Africa, it’s 2,176 calories. Latin America and the Caribbean fare better at 2,791 calories per day.
In the U.S. and Europe, the amount of calories consumed are evenly distributed among cereals, meat and poultry and oils and fats. Compared to Europe, the United States has a slightly lower consumption of fats but a higher intake of sugars, both are 18 percent of the daily calorie total. In Europe, 21 percent of calories come from fat, but only 11 percent come from sugars and sweeteners. Poor or developing countries have a high intake of cereals and starchy roots and vegetables, with a very low intake of meats. In North Africa, 62 percent of the calories come from cereals, compared to 23 and 25 percent in the United States and Europe, respectively.
The caloric numbers are based on the aggregate food supply, or the amount of food available in a country based on production and export numbers. Some experts believe these are not true numbers and you should deduct about 1,000 calories from all groups, since part of the food available is lost due to spoilage, cooking and other factors. In that case, the average daily consumption would be about 2,600 calories in the U.S. and 1,100 in Africa.