Associations Between Eating Occasions and Places of Consumption Among Adults

Published In: Appetite, v. 87, no. 1, Apr. 2015, p. 199-204

Posted on RAND.org on January 23, 2015

by Jodi Liu, Bing Han, Deborah Cohen

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The objective of this study was to determine whether places of consumption are associated with types of eating occasions. Data on dietary behaviors of 226 adults in five U.S. cities were collected in food diaries for one week. Types of eating occasions and places of consumption were recorded. Eating occasions were defined as occurrences of meal, snack, beverage, and non-fruit dessert consumption. Nearly one-third of eating occasions occurred at non-designated eating places. Repeated measure generalized linear models were used to assess the associations between types of eating occasions and places where food was consumed. Snacking on low-nutrient foods were more likely to occur in non-designated eating places. Snacking was more likely at work than at home, and sugar sweetened beverage consumption was more likely at food service outlets than at home. The finding that places of consumption were associated with different types of eating occasions suggests that contextual characteristics of a place are important in individual eating behaviors. Policies and programs aiming to promote healthy eating should leverage contextual characteristics of eating environments.

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