Young adults and eating away from home: associations with dietary intake patterns and weight status differ by choice of restaurant.
Young adults report frequent away-from-home eating; however, little is known regarding what types of restaurants are patronized or whether associations with dietary intake and weight status differ according to restaurant type.
This cross-sectional study in a diverse sample of young adults examines sociodemographic differences in the frequency of eating at different types of fast-food and full-service (server brings food to table) restaurants. In addition, this study examines whether associations between away-from-home eating, dietary intake, and weight status differ according to restaurant type.
There were 1,030 men and 1,257 women (mean age=25.3 years) who participated in Project EAT-III (Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults). Participants were members of a longitudinal cohort who completed baseline surveys at schools in Minneapolis/St Paul, MN, and completed the EAT-III surveys online or by mail in 2008-2009.
Main outcome measures
Height, weight, and usual dietary intake were self-reported.
Statistical analyses performed
Regression models adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics were used to examine associations between frequency of restaurant use, dietary intake, and weight status.
More frequent use of fast-food restaurants that primarily served burgers and french fries was associated with higher risk for overweight/obesity; higher intake of total energy, sugar-sweetened beverages, and fat; and with lower intake of healthful foods and key nutrients. For example, those who reported burger-and-fries restaurant use on three or more occasions per week consumed nearly one additional sugar-sweetened beverage per day compared to those who reported burger-and-fries restaurant use on less than one occasion per week. More frequent use of fast-food restaurants that primarily served sandwiches/subs was related to a few markers of poorer diet quality, but unrelated to weight status. More frequent use of full-service restaurants was also unrelated to weight status and related to higher intake of vegetables.
There may be a need for interventions to promote healthier food choices among young adults who report frequent burger-and-fries restaurant use.
Larson, N; Neumark-Sztainer, D; Laska, MN; Story, M
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