Obesity rate among Americans are historically high and a possible reason for it is lack of awareness about daily calorie intake, according to a study. The study stated that men have very little knowledge about calorie consumption as compared to women.

The research, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics last month, focused on the association between obesity and calorie consumption. The study found that men have very poor knowledge about the amount of calories they need to take on a daily basis.

The research team said a lack of awareness about daily calorie intake could be a major reason for a rapid increase in the obesity rate in the United States. Over 93 million people or an estimate of 40 percent of adults in the country are obese, the study stated.

Obesity can affect the overall health of a person. It can also increase the risk of several chronic illnesses, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

For the research, the team analyzed the data of 6, 267 adults, who had participated in a survey about their eating habits and health in 2007-2008 and 2009-2010. At the end of the study, the team found that 37 of percent male participants and 17 of percent female participants were not aware about the daily calorie intake based on their height, weight, activity level and age.

The gender gap in calorie knowledge existed among ethnic and racial groups as well as different education levels, incomes and ages. The study stated that 56 percent of Hispanic and black men as well as 30 percent of white admitted they were not aware about the right calorie intake for them. 

Around 42 percent of Hispanic women, 33 percent of black women and 10 percent of white women also did not know much about the right amount of calorie intake for them.

“So, it’s possible - even likely - that some participants may have simply guessed in the correct range,” lead researcher Robin McKinnon, a senior advisor for nutrition policy at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in College Park, Maryland, said.

“Our analysis probably overestimates rather than underestimates how many people answered correctly,” the researcher added.

The researchers concluded the study by stating that “Knowledge of typical daily calorie requirements is a foundational concept of nutrition literacy. Educational efforts to increase awareness, knowledge, and use of calorie information for certain groups may be helpful to refine interventions and ultimately improve public health in the United States”.

Obese Man A man is pictured walking along the Embarcadero April 6, 2005 in San Francisco. Photo: Getty Images