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. 2014 Dec;47(6):796-802.
doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2014.07.033. Epub 2014 Sep 19.

Time Spent on Home Food Preparation and Indicators of Healthy Eating

Free PMC article

Time Spent on Home Food Preparation and Indicators of Healthy Eating

Pablo Monsivais et al. Am J Prev Med. .
Free PMC article


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.

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