Eating at Food Outlets and "On the Go" Is Associated with Less Healthy Food Choices in Adults: Cross-Sectional Data from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme (2008-2014).

24 Jan 2018

Eating location has been linked with variations in diet quality including the consumption of low-nutrient energy-dense food, which is a recognised risk factor for obesity. Cross-sectional data from 4736 adults aged 19 years and over from Years 1-6 of the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) Rolling Programme (RP) (2008-2014) were used to explore food consumption patterns by eating location. Eating location was categorized as home, work, leisure places, food outlets and "on the go". Foods were classified into two groups: core (included in the principal food groups and considered important/acceptable within a healthy diet) and non-core (all other foods). Out of 97,748 eating occasions reported, the most common was home (67-90% of eating occasions). Leisure places, food outlets and "on the go" combined contributed more energy from non-core (30%) than from core food (18%). Analyses of modulating factors revealed that sex, income, frequency of eating out and frequency of drinking were significant factors affecting consumption patterns (p < 0.01). Our study provides evidence that eating patterns, behaviours and resulting diet quality vary by location. Public health interventions should focus on availability and access to healthy foods, promotion of healthy food choices and behaviours across multiple locations, environments and contexts for food consumption.