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The Impact of Food Away from Home on Adult Diet Quality

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

Food away from home (FAFH) has been associated with poor diet quality in many studies. It is difficult, however, to measure the effect of FAFH on diet quality since many unobserved factors, such as food preferences and time constraints, influence not just our choice of where to eat but also the nutritional quality of what we eat. Using data from 1994-96 and 2003-04, this study applies fixed-effects estimation to control for such unobservable influences and finds that, for the average adult, FAFH increases daily caloric intake and reduces diet quality. The effects vary depending on which meals are consumed away from home. On average, breakfast away from home decreases the number of servings of whole grains and dairy consumed per 1,000 calories and increases the percent of calories from saturated and solid fat, alcohol, and added sugar (SoFAAS) in a day. Dinner away from home reduces the number of servings of vegetables consumed per 1,000 calories for the average adult. Breakfast and lunch away from home increase calories from saturated fat and SoFAAS on average more among dieters than among nondieters. Some of the overall negative dietary effects decreased between 1994-96 and 2003-04, including those on whole grain, sodium, and vegetable consumption.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/58298
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Paper provided by United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service in its series Economic Research Report with number 58298.

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Date of creation: Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ags:uersrr:58298
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  1. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1994, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Shin-Yi Chou & Michael Grossman & Henry Saffer, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of Adult Obesity: Results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," NBER Working Papers 9247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Mancino, Lisa & Todd, Jessica & Lin, Biing-Hwan, 2009. "Separating what we eat from where: Measuring the effect of food away from home on diet quality," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 557-562, December.
  4. Joni Hersch & Leslie S. Stratton, 1997. "Housework, Fixed Effects, and Wages of Married Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(2), pages 285-307.
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