Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight loss intention?
Methods: Analysis of cross-sectional 24-hour dietary recall data (adults aged ≥20 years old) from the 2007-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (N=9,569). Diet quality measures included total calories/day, grams of fat, sugar and carbohydrates/day, fast food meals/week, and frozen and ready to eat meals consumed in the past 30 days. Multivariable regression analysis was used to test for associations between frequency of cooking dinner/week (low (0-1), medium (2-5) and high (6-7)) and these dietary outcomes.
Results: In 2007-2010, 8% of adults cooked dinner 0-1 times/week and consumed, on an average day, 2301 total calories, 84 grams of fat, 135 grams of sugar. Overall, compared to low cookers (0-1 times/week), a high frequency of cooking dinner (6-7 times/week) was associated with lower consumption of daily calories, (2164 kcal vs. 2301 kcal, p=0.002), carbohydrates 262 grams vs. 284 grams, p<0.001), fat (81 grams vs. 86 grams, p=0.016), and sugar (119 grams vs. 135 grams, p<0.001). Individuals trying to lose weight consumed fewer calories than those not trying to lose weight, regardless of cooking frequency (2111 kcal vs. 2281 kcal, p<0.006).
Discussion: Adults who frequently cook dinner at home consume a healthier diet regardless of weight loss intention. Strategies are needed to encourage more cooking among the general population and help infrequent cookers better navigate the food environment outside the home.
Describe national patterns in cooking frequency and diet quality among adults in the USA, overall and by weight loss intention.
Keyword(s): Nutrition, Obesity
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, a Lerner Fellow at the Center for a Livable Future, and a Johnson & Johnson Community Healthcare Scholar. I am the first author of this paper, and have worked on several other papers with NHANES data regarding diet quality, energy consumption and consumer behavior.
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.