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Quick Facts

On an average day in 2014...

On an average day in 2014, Americans age 15 and older spent 64 minutes in eating and drinking as a “primary” or main activity, and 16 minutes eating as a secondary activity—that is, while doing something else such as watching television, driving, preparing meals, or working. On an average day, men spent more time engaged in primary eating and drinking (66 minutes) than women (63 minutes), and more women reported engaging in secondary eating (57.5 percent) than men (49 percent).

The top 3 places for primary eating and drinking were:

  • Own home or yard:        71.3 percent
  • Workplace:                   11.4 percent
  • Restaurant or bar:           9.3 percent

The top 3 places for secondary eating were:

  • Own home or yard:         53.9 percent
  • Workplace:                    22.2 percent
  • Driving a vehicle:              6.9 percent

The top 5 activities that accompanied secondary eating for the total population were:

  • Watching television and movies:               24.3 percent
  • Paid work:                                              22.6 percent
  • Socializing with others:                              4.8 percent
  • Food and drink preparation:                        5.9 percent
  • Reading for personal interest:                     2.9 percent

For men, the top 5 activities that accompanied secondary eating were:

  • Paid work:                                               25.9 percent
  • Watching television and movies::               25.4 percent
  • Socializing with others:                              5.0 percent
  • Relaxing, thinking:                                    3.1 percent
  • Commuting and other work travel:               2.9 percent

For women, the top 5 activities that accompanied secondary eating were:

  • Watching television and movies:               23.5 percent
  • Paid work:                                              20.0 percent
  • Socializing with others:                              4.7 percent
  • Food and drink preparation:                        4.5 percent
  • Housework:                                               3.3 percent

Note: Data are for individuals, age 15 and older. Percentages are based on number of primary eating and/or drinking occurrences or secondary eating occurrences.

Source: 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Time Use Survey, and ERS, Eating and Health Module (ATUS) data.

Last updated: Tuesday, July 26, 2016

For more information contact: Karen Hamrick