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Diet Quality And Calories Consumed: The Impact Of Being Hungrier, Busier And Eating Out


  • Kinsey, Jean D.
  • Mancino, Lisa


While Americans claim to be eating better and improving their understanding of diet and health, they are getting heavier and increasing their risk of suffering from diet related illnesses. The cause of this inconsistency is unclear. Using theoretical models of preference reversal and econometric empirical analysis, this study finds that the number of calories eaten per meal increases and the quality of the diet decreases as people wait more than six hours to eat their next meal, work more than fifty hours a week, and consume a larger amount of food away from home. These situational factors are important even for consumers who have considerable knowledge about diet and health. Regardless of one's favored dietary prescription, this study shows how well an individual's intentions to eat healthfully changes with time pressures, hunger, and food source. As people change their dietary goals based on prevailing nutritional lore, such situational factors will continue to interfere with one's long-term health objectives. This is especially relevant in an era where obesity is a leading health issue for individuals and for the costs of health care. Any advice and action that can improve diet quality and reduce caloric intake on a convenient basis is valuable for individuals and the overall economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Kinsey, Jean D. & Mancino, Lisa, 2004. "Diet Quality And Calories Consumed: The Impact Of Being Hungrier, Busier And Eating Out," Working Papers 14324, University of Minnesota, The Food Industry Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:umrfwp:14324
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.14324

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sendhil Mullainathan & Richard H. Thaler, 2000. "Behavioral Economics," NBER Working Papers 7948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-255, March-Apr.
    3. Jaehong Park & George C. Davis, 2001. "The Theory and Econometrics of Health Information in Cross-Sectional Nutrient Demand Analysis," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(4), pages 840-851.
    4. Variyam, Jayachandran N. & Blaylock, James R. & Smallwood, David, 1995. "Modeling Nutrient Intake: The Role of Dietary Information," Technical Bulletins 156772, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    5. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hu, Wuyang & Woods, Timothy & Bastin, Sandra & Cox, Linda & You, Wen, 2011. "Assessing Consumer Willingness to Pay for Value-Added Blueberry Products Using a Payment Card Survey," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(2), pages 243-258, May.
    2. Lombardini-Riipinen, Chiara & Lankoski, Leena, 2010. "Take off the heater: Utility effect and food environment effect in food consumption decisions," 115th Joint EAAE/AAEA Seminar, September 15-17, 2010, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany 116431, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. Amarasinghe, Anura & D'Souza, Gerard E. & Brown, Cheryl & Borisova, Tatiana, 2006. "The Impact of Socioeconomic and Spatial Differences on Obesity in West Virginia," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21159, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    4. Hery Toiba & Wendy J. Umberger & Nicholas Minot, 2015. "Diet Transition and Supermarket Shopping Behaviour: Is There a Link?," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(3), pages 389-403, December.
    5. Anura Amarasinghe & Cheryl Brown & Gerard D'Souza & Tatiana Borisova, 2006. "The Impact of County Level Factors on Obesity in West Virginia," Working Papers Working Paper 2006-14, Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University.
    6. Loureiro, Maria L. & Nayga, Rodolfo M., Jr., 2005. "Obesity Rates in OECD Countries: An International Perspective," 2005 International Congress, August 23-27, 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark 24454, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    7. Yaniv, Gideon & Rosin, Odelia & Tobol, Yossef, 2009. "Junk-food, home cooking, physical activity and obesity: The effect of the fat tax and the thin subsidy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 823-830, June.
    8. repec:rri:wpaper:200614 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Miller, Gabrielle F. & Gupta, Sonam & Kropp, Jaclyn D. & Grogan, Kelly A. & Mathews, Anne, 2016. "The effects of pre-ordering and behavioral nudges on National School Lunch Program participants’ food item selection," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 4-16.


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