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Food Away From Home: How much does it really influence diet quality?


  • Mancino, Lisa
  • Todd, Jessica E.
  • Lin, Biing-Hwan


This study confirms that eating food away from home (FAFH) adversely affects dietary intake. By looking at changes within individuals’ dietary intake over two days, thus controlling for self-selection issues, we find that FAFH causes increased caloric intake and reduced diet quality. Our estimates on the effect of specific meals show that lunch and dinner consumed away from home have the largest effect on total daily caloric intake, but that breakfast has the largest negative effect on total diet quality. In particular, eating breakfast away from home decreases intake of fruit, whole grains and dairy and increases the percent of calories from saturated fats and solid fats, alcohol and added sugar. Eating lunch and dinner away from home also reduce diet quality, affecting similar dietary components, with dinner away from home also reducing vegetable intake. Unlike past studies based on correlation analyses, this study shows how FAFH can have a causal impact on weight gain.

Suggested Citation

  • Mancino, Lisa & Todd, Jessica E. & Lin, Biing-Hwan, 2009. "Food Away From Home: How much does it really influence diet quality?," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49251, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea09:49251
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.49251

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1998:88:2:277-280_5 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 93-118, Summer.
    3. Michael L. Anderson & David A. Matsa, 2011. "Are Restaurants Really Supersizing America?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 152-188, January.
    4. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
    5. Todd, Jessica E. & Variyam, Jayachandran N., 2008. "The Decline in Consumer Use of Food Nutrition Labels, 1995-2006," Economic Research Report 56466, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    6. Mancino, Lisa & Kuchler, Fred & Leibtag, Ephraim, 2008. "Getting consumers to eat more whole-grains: The role of policy, information, and food manufacturers," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 489-496, December.
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