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Nutritional Quality of Food Prepared at Home and Away From Home, 1977-2008

Food prepared away from home (FAFH)—whether from table-service restaurants, fast-food establishments and other locations, or from a take-out or delivery meal eaten at home—is now a routine part of the diets of most Americans. Previous Economic Research Service (ERS) research found that FAFH tends to be lower in nutritional quality than food prepared at home (FAH), increases caloric intake, and reduces diet quality among adults and children. This study updates previous research by examining dietary guidance and the nutritional quality of FAH versus FAFH in 2005-08, compared with 1977-78. Poor diets contribute to obesity, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and other health conditions that impose a substantial economic burden on individuals and society. The increased popularity of FAFH is prompting new health promotion strategies, such as menu labeling, to address this challenge. The full report, “Nutritional Quality of Food Prepared at Home and Away From Home, 1977-2008,” is available at http://1.usa.gov/TNtL3G

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