Americans have finally started eating healthier just by making simple lifestyle changes, such as home cooked meals and paying attention to the nutritional information on the back of food packaging. A survey released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) this past Thursday found that Americans were consuming 118 fewer calories a day in 2010 compared to four years ago in 2005.

Researchers from the USDA relied on data from three of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), which followed the daily eating habits of Americans before, during, and after the Great Recession. Across three different time periods, the research team studied diet quality by percent of calories from fat and saturated fat, cholesterol intake, and fiber intake. The amount of calories from fast food, the number of meals and snacks consumed throughout the day, and mean caloric intake were studied.

The data collected from 9,839 working-aged adults in the U.S. determined that Americans as a whole had consumed 118 fewer calories in 2010 compared to 2010. America also reported consuming 127 fewer calories from fast food restaurants throughout the course of the three study periods. After accounting for small shifts in demographic characteristics such as age and ethnic background, the estimated daily caloric intake for Americans fell by 78 calories.

The number of adults who took time to read nutritional labels on the back of packaging also rose to 42 percent by 2010. Calories from total fat declined by 3.3 percent, saturated fat by 5.9 percent, and cholesterol by 7.9 percent. Daily fiber intake rose by 1.2 grams from 2005 to 2010 amounting to 7.5 percent increase. Overall, Americans spent 12.9 percent less on food outside of the household by the end of the survey.

Findings from the USDA’s survey are on par with the results of recent studies that prove America’s eating habit is taking a turn for the better. USDA economist Jessica Todd, who released the report, applauded the food industry for making nutrition information readily and helping to limit the amount of calories the average American takes in each day. On the other hand, health care professionals realize although we are eating healthier, obesity rates are still too high to be considered healthy, and related health risks such as diabetes and heart disease continue to affect a growing number of adults in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one-third of U.S. population is considered obese while heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain types of cancer remain the leading cause of preventable death. Obesity is also having a devastating effect on America’s youth seeing as 17 percent of children and adolescents between the ages 2 and 19 were not in a healthy weight range. Obesity prevalence among children and adolescents in the U.S. has nearly tripled since 1980.