Too busy to stop for a bite

Reading this while eating lunch? You’re not alone…

Grazing, Goods and Girth: Determinants and Effects (gated, sorry) 
Daniel S. Hamermesh
Using the 2006-07 American Time Use Survey and its Eating and Health Module, I show that over half of adult Americans report grazing (secondary eating/drinking) on a typical day, with grazing time almost equaling primary eating/drinking time. An economic model predicts that higher wage rates (price of time) will lead to substitution of grazing for primary eating/drinking, especially by raising the number of grazing incidents relative to meals. This prediction is confirmed in these data. Eating meals more frequently is associated with lower BMI and better self-reported health, as is grazing more frequently. Food purchases are positively related to time spent eating–substitution of goods for time is difficult–but are lower when eating time is spread over more meals.

One thought on “Too busy to stop for a bite”

  1. If grazing substitutes for meals, then that finding is quite plausible. It it adds food intake in addition to that consumed at meals, then, as Cutler, Glaeser and Shapiro reported in their 2003 paper, “Why Have Americans Become More Obese?”, it is correlated with increased BMI.
    The paper cites the move from individual preparation of food to mass (industrialised) preparation as a significant factor:
    “From 1977 to 1995, total potato consumption [by Americans] increased by about 30 percent, accounted for almost exclusively by increased consumption of potato chips and French fries.”


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