248967 Navigating the complexities of time use, food patterns and obesity

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 2:48 PM

Jane Kolodinsky, PhD , Community Development and Applied Economics, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
Amanda Goldstein, MS , Center for Rural Studies, Univerisity of Vermont, Burlington, VT
Obesity is a public health problem that requires a range of solutions related to individual diet and activity, and food and built environment. Examination of complex relationships between food choice, time-use patterns, socio-demographic characteristics and obesity has been limited by data availability and disciplinary focus. Using a “health production” model this study links nationally representative data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination and the American Time Use Surveys to provide a more complete picture of the impact of food and time use patterns on obesity using a two step multivariate recursive regression model. In the model, people “produce” a health weight by combining food intake and activity outputs. This economist's approach to obesity mirrors the nutritionist's energy balance equation. Variables that impact the probability of being overweight and that predict BMI for overweight and normal weight individuals differ in significance, magnitude, and direction of effect. While race and income are significant in the models, lifestyle pattern clusters of time use and food patterns also are also related to both the probability of being overweight and BMI. Individual time use patterns related to food preparation and time spent eating impact BMI in different directions for normal versus overweight individuals. A transdisciplinary approach that includes methods and measures previously utilized by either nutrition experts or economists provides a framework the investigation of some of the complexities involved in studying lifestyle factors related to obesity. Results parallel findings from more targeted studies and suggest interventions that related to time use and activity.

Learning Areas:
Biostatistics, economics
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe time use and food pattern clusters in cohorts of people. Describe estimation of the impact of time use and food patterns on the probability of being overweight and BMI. List policy recommendations based on empirical findings obtained using a transdisciplinary, multivariate model applied to a nationally representative sample.

Keywords: Obesity, Health Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I hold a Ph.D. and am full professor who studies obesity in a transdisciplinary context.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.