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TUESDAY, Nov. 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) — On any given day, 17.1 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 years and older were on a special diet in 2015 to 2018, according to a November data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

Bryan Stierman, M.D., M.P.H., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to calculate the percentage of U.S. adults who were on any special diet in 2015 to 2018.

The researchers found that 17.1 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 years and older were on a special diet on a given day in 2015 to 2018. More women than men were on a special diet, as were more adults aged 40 to 59 years and 60 years and older versus those aged 20 to 39 years. More non-Hispanic White adults than non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic Asian adults were on a special diet (17.8 percent versus 14.7 and 14.9 percent, respectively). Among all adults, the most common type of special diet reported was a weight-loss or low-calorie diet. The percentage of adults on any special diet, weight loss or low-calorie diets, and low carbohydrate diets increased from 2007-2008 to 2017-2018, while there was a decrease in the percentage on low-fat or low-cholesterol diets .

“The percentage of adults on a special diet increased with increasing weight categories and increasing educational level,” the authors write.

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