A group of international researchers evaluating data from more than 320 self-reported diet surveys completed between 1990 and 2010 has concluded that while people are eating more healthy foods, their consumption of unhealthy foods has also increased.

The study was paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the results were published in the online journal Lancet Global Health. The international team assessed how frequently individuals reported that they “ate 17 common foods, drinks and nutrients including healthy choices like fruits, vegetables and fish and unhealthier alternatives like salt, processed meat and sugary drinks.”

As reported in the Washington Post via the Associated Press:


“Experts found that even though people are eating more healthy foods including whole grains and fish, there has been an even bigger jump in the amount of junk food eaten. The study was paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Britain’s Medical Research Council and was published online Thursday in the journal, Lancet Global Health, as part of an obesity series.”

Key findings? Older adults were likely to eat better than younger adults. Women were more likely to eat healthier diets than men. The U.S. presented a mixed picture, with increases in both healthy and unhealthy foods consumed. And increasing affluence in China and India is contributing to an increased consumption of junk food in those nations.