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Time spent on home food preparation and indicators of healthy eating.

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Aggarwal, Anju 
Drewnowski, Adam 


BACKGROUND: The amount of time spent on food preparation and cooking may have implications for diet quality and health. However, little is known about how food-related time use relates to food consumption and spending, either at restaurants or for food consumed at home. PURPOSE: To quantitatively assess the associations among the amount of time habitually spent on food preparation and patterns of self-reported food consumption, food spending, and frequency of restaurant use. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study of 1,319 adults in a population-based survey conducted in 2008-2009. The sample was stratified into those who spent <1 hour/day, 1-2 hours/day, and >2 hours/day on food preparation and cleanup. Descriptive statistics and multivariable regression models examined differences between time-use groups. Analyses were conducted in 2011-2013. RESULTS: Individuals who spent the least amount of time on food preparation tended to be working adults who placed a high priority on convenience. Greater amount of time spent on home food preparation was associated with indicators of higher diet quality, including significantly more frequent intake of vegetables, salads, fruits, and fruit juices. Spending <1 hour/day on food preparation was associated with significantly more money spent on food away from home and more frequent use of fast food restaurants compared to those who spent more time on food preparation. CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicate that time might be an essential ingredient in the production of healthier eating habits among adults. Further research should investigate the determinants of spending time on food preparation.



Adult, Cooking, Cross-Sectional Studies, Demography, Diet, Eating, Feeding Behavior, Female, Food, Health Behavior, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Restaurants, Socioeconomic Factors, Surveys and Questionnaires, Time Factors, United States

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Am J Prev Med

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Elsevier BV
Economic and Social Research Council (ES/G007462/1)
Medical Research Council (MR/K023187/1)
Wellcome Trust (087636/Z/08/Z)
This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (grant No. R01 DK076608). Pablo Monsivais also received support from the Centre for Diet and Activity Research, a UKCRC Public Health Research Centre of Excellence funded by the British Heart Foundation, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research, and the Wellcome Trust.