Food Away from Home Consumption and Obesity: Is ‘Average Consumer’ a Myth or Reality?
The epidemic proportions of overweight and obesity prevalence have made it not only a public health threat, but also an economic problem. The high caloric density and increased consumption of food-away-from-home endorse the possibility of significant effects of it on obesity. The objective of this study is to model meals consumed away from home consumption by accounting for consumer heterogeneity in making food consumption decisions. We use random coefficient modeling to estimate a negative binomial model to reveal consumer heterogeneity effects on food away from home. The results reveal significant associations between BMI_Status categories and food consumption both at home, but no significant associations with food away from home. We also established positive significant effects of caloric intake on meal consumption both at and away from home, with the latter being significantly larger than the former. The effects of the nutrient intake on meal consumption both at home and away from home have almost identical magnitude but opposite signs. The results of this research have significant policy implications as information on demographic profiles of people with overabundant but nutritionally poor food consumption habits would help to create more efficient and well targeted policy choices.
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