Diet and Eating Habits

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The ubiquity of food in developed nations does not necessarily imply that people will choose healthy options, nor does the scarcity of food in some developing areas imply poor eating habits. RAND research on diet and eating habits investigates economic and social factors behind such concerns as diet choices, nutrition, access to foods, obesity, and weight loss.

Explore Diet and Eating Habits

  • Lady using a modern vending machine

    Commentary

    After Trans Fats, Target America's Overeating

    In June, the FDA gave manufacturers three years to remove artificial trans fat from the food supply. This is an important step, but solving the problem of diet-related chronic diseases is much more complex than banning a single additive.

    Jul 10, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Intake of Water and Different Beverages in Adults Across 13 Countries

    Describes the intake of water and all other fluids and to evaluate the proportion of adults exceeding the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations on energy intake from free sugar, solely from fluids.

    Jul 10, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Total Fluid Intake and Its Determinants: Cross-Sectional Surveys Among Adults in 13 Countries Worldwide

    There were considerable differences in total fluid intake between countries but not between genders.

    Jul 10, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Total Fluid Intake of Children and Adolescents: Cross-Sectional Surveys in 13 Countries Worldwide

    A high proportion of children and adolescents are at risk of an inadequate fluid intake. This risk is especially high in males and adolescents when compared with females or children categories.

    Jul 10, 2015

  • Periodical

    Periodical

    RAND Review: July-August 2015

    This issue of RAND Review reports on the economic costs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, healthy menu options for food trucks, ways to bridge the civilian-military gap, the depiction of terrorism on television, and more.

    Jul 2, 2015

  • Customers in line at a food truck

    Essay

    Putting Health to the (Taste) Test

    Researchers teamed up with a dozen Los Angeles lunch trucks to test healthier menu items—chicken breasts and grilled fish alongside the usual tacos and hamburgers.

    Jul 1, 2015

  • Woman consulting shopping list in grocery store

    Journal Article

    Using a Grocery List May Lead to Better Health Outcomes

    A shopping list may be a no-cost, easily implemented tool to help high-risk, low-income individuals living in a food desert make healthier food choices.

    May 12, 2015

  • A bacon double cheeseburger with fries, pickles, and tomato on the side

    Commentary

    Regulators Should Insist Food Providers “First, Do No Harm”

    Everyone needs food, water, and shelter, yet society offers protective standards and regulations for just two of these three essentials. Food regulations focus on preventing illnesses like botulism, but when it comes to chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes, regulations offer little protection to U.S. consumers.

    Apr 8, 2015

  • African-American woman looking down

    Journal Article

    Depression May Increase Obesity Risk

    Significant links were found between depression, poor nutrition, and obesity in a low-income, primarily African-American “food desert” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mental health interventions may have broader benefits in this population.

    Mar 11, 2015

  • Woman comparing soda labels in a supermarket

    Commentary

    Supermarkets Are the Problem

    Thirty percent of all supermarket sales can be attributed to end-of-aisle displays, where retailers have placed more foods that increase the risk of obesity and chronic diseases. Relocating those foods to less conspicuous places would still allow those who want them to get them, but the decision to buy would be deliberate rather than impulsive.

    Feb 26, 2015

  • Lunch on a busy workday: a hamburger and soda

    Journal Article

    Associations Between Eating Occasions and Places of Consumption Among Adults

    The objective of this study was to determine whether places of consumption are associated with types of eating occasions.

    Jan 23, 2015

  • Attention-getting sale balloon at a grocery store

    Journal Article

    In-Store Promotions and Obesity Risk: Is There a Connection?

    A close look at marketing tactics (like special displays and price cuts) in Pittsburgh "food deserts" revealed that stores allocate more price reductions to low-nutrient foods than to healthy choices. These strategies are associated with increased body mass among regular shoppers, but more research is needed to confirm a causal link to obesity.

    Jan 7, 2015

  • A blurry convenience store aisle

    Commentary

    A New Year's Resolution: Target Practices That Undermine Weight Control

    Many will vow to lose weight in the coming year, but most will inevitably fail, not from lack of motivation or knowledge but from insuperable forces undermining their best intentions. America should resolve to address obesity where it begins: the point of purchase.

    Dec 29, 2014

  • A woman reading a menu at a restaurant

    Commentary

    Calorie Labels Won't Fix America's Problem with Away-From-Home Food

    The FDA's new guidelines for calorie labeling on restaurant menus, retail establishments like convenience stores and movie theaters, and vending machines are a long-due recognition that eating away from home can be hazardous to health. But the new mandate falls far short of providing the necessary fix.

    Dec 10, 2014

  • The view from a shopping cart at a grocery store

    Journal Article

    Improved Access May Not Be the Key to Addressing Food Deserts

    As part of the ongoing battle to fight obesity in the U.S., current policies are aimed at improving access to healthy foods, especially in neighborhoods designated as food deserts. However, research indicates proximity to full-service supermarkets was unrelated to weight or dietary quality.

    Dec 9, 2014

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Response of an Expert Panel to Nutritional Armor for the Warfighter: Can Omega-3 Fatty Acids Enhance Stress Resilience, Wellness, and Military Performance?

    Recommendations of an Expert Panel on 5 central questions addressed during the workshop.

    Dec 1, 2014

  • College students in a cafeteria line

    Commentary

    To Fight Obesity, Make UC a Laboratory

    With its Global Food Initiative, the University of California is seeking ways to help the billion people who go to bed hungry each night. At the same time, UC could also be addressing obesity. Experimenting with changes to the food environment and documenting their impact on diet and weight gain would accelerate progress on this national problem not just for students, but for all Americans.

    Oct 30, 2014

  • Fresh produce at a grocery store

    Commentary

    Location, Location, Location: Does the Food Desert Narrative Hold Up?

    There's little rigorous evidence to support the notion that 'food deserts' are driving the U.S. obesity epidemic but this narrative has nearly become conventional wisdom. In response, stakeholders have poured hundreds of millions into bringing supermarkets to these neighborhoods.

    Oct 28, 2014

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Implications of Sleep and Energy Drink Use for Health Disparities

    In this review, a brief introduction to the issue of health disparities is provided, population-level disparities and inequalities in sleep are described, and the social-ecological model of sleep and health is presented.

    Oct 1, 2014

  • Obese man in a crowd

    Research Brief

    Too Much of a Good Thing? How the Economic Environment Plays a Role in the Obesity Epidemic

    RAND researchers looking at the growth of obesity rates over time found that the epidemic has been fueled by historically low food prices relative to income and constant availability, which have driven high consumption.

    Aug 22, 2014

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