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Bad diet habits being exported

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(HealthDay is the new name for HealthScoutNews.)

(HealthDayNews) -- The typical American diet is composed of foods from all over the world, including pizza, French fries and Chinese take-out. But lots of people say Americans have the worst diet of all the developed nations. Is it true?

Yes, say researchers at the Portuguese National Institute of Health in Lisbon, though they sayEuropean nations seem to be catching up quickly.

The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reports that U.S. diets include about 40 percent fat, and almost a third of Americans are obese. But the journal also reports that serum cholesterol levels have risen among European youth in the last two decades in Spain, Greece and Italy, and are now on a par with the United States.

In Italy, the national diet is changing for the worse. Italians still eat lots of olive oil, but their consumption of fats from other sources is increasing.

And overall, the Scandinavian diet is the most like the United States, with similar patterns of snacking, fast foods and restaurant meals, as well as high cholesterol levels and obesity problems.

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