Fast food get a bad rap, but data from the Center from Disease Control recently shows a significant number of Americans are still choosing the hamburger and french fries. 

Agency data released this month collected over a three-year period shows 36.6 percent of American adults eat fast food on a given day, although the number decreases as consumers get older. Almost 50 percent of those ages 20-39 eat fast food on a given day compared to 37.7 percent of those ages 40-59 and only 24.1 percent of those ages 60 and up.

Data also showed that the percentage of adults who ate fast food increased with family income. 

While the CDC has noted regularly the fast food industry's high caloric intake and poor diet quality, the data also shows that fast-food restaurants are not going out of business any time soon. 

"People are creatures of convenience and they will do what's most convenience and what they like," said Gerald Judice, owner of the Judice Inn, 3134 Johnston St. "If they like fast food and they have the money and don't have the time to cook, people will go get fast food or eat out. It's just convenience."

The study indicates time, financial resources, price and availability draw Americans to fast food. The trend encompasses all races, but non-Hispanic black consumers are the highest consumers at 42.2 percent eating fast food on a given day.

Those with higher incomes tended it to eat it more than those with lower incomes. Lower-income people ate fast food 31.7 percent of the time compared to 36.4 percent for middle-income people and 42 percent for higher-income people.

"People are creatures of convenience and they will do what's most convenience and what they like," Judice said. "If they like fast food and they have the money and don't have the time to cook, people will go get fast food or eat out. It's just convenience."

When it comes to income levels, 42.1 percent who make more than 350 percent of the federal poverty level ate fast food on a given day, according to data. That's higher than 36.4 percent of people who earned 130-350 percent over the poverty level and 31.7 of those at the poverty level or lower. 

Men are almost 10 percent more likely to choose fast food for a lunch at 48.3 percent to 39.1 percent for women. But women are more likely to use fast food as a snack: 25.7 percent to 22.6 percent for men. 

"We don't really see a split by age group here either, but that may be because we've been around for 71 years so we are a bit of a staple of the community," Judice said. "Fortunately for us, we still attract a lot of people, young and old. 

"I wouldn't think you'd need a study for (data on men versus women). Men tend to feed their hunger while women tend to eat to sustain themselves." 

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