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How Much Time Do Americans Spend on Food?

by Karen Hamrick, Margaret Andrews, Joanne Guthrie, David Hopkins, and Ket McClelland

Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-86) 64 pp, November 2011

Cover image for eib86 This report uses data from the 2006-08 ERS Eating & Health Module of the American Time Use Survey to present an overview of Americans’ eating and other food-related time use patterns, including grocery shopping and meal preparation, and teenage time use patterns in relation to school meals. On an average day, Americans age 15 and older spent 67 minutes eating and drinking as a “primary” or main activity, and 23.5 minutes eating and 63 minutes drinking beverages (except plain water) while doing something such as watching television, driving, or working. Eleven percent of the population spent at least 4.5 hours on an average day engaged in eating and drinking activities.

Keywords: Time use, eating patterns, obesity, BMI, school meals, grocery shopping, meal preparation, Food Stamp Program, SNAP, National School Lunch Program, time diary, time use survey, American Time Use Survey, multitasking, Hamrick

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Last updated: Wednesday, August 15, 2012

For more information contact: Karen Hamrick, Margaret Andrews, Joanne Guthrie, David Hopkins, and Ket McClelland