Cooking at home frequently may lead to healthier diet
Individuals who frequently cook at home tend to maintain a healthier diet than those who cook less frequently, according to new research released today at the American Public Health Association’s 142nd Annual Meeting in New Orleans.
Results from the Public Health Nutrition study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health indicate that individuals who cooked at home frequently consumed fewer calories at home and away from home than those who cooked at home less frequently. Cooking at home often was also associated with consumption of fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and fewer fast food meals, frozen meals and ready-to-eat foods.
In the study’s analysis, white Americans were more likely to live in households where cooking dinner at home took place at a medium or high frequency, compared to black Americans. Researchers also found that those who worked more than 35 hours per week were more likely to cook at home less frequently. It was also noted that across all cooking frequency categories, individuals trying to lose weight showed even better diet quality compared to those not trying to lose weight.
“Efforts to encourage home cooking should consider time constraints, lack of access to affordable, high-quality, fresh ingredients, as well as lack of cooking equipment, which limits the amount of food Americans are able to prepare themselves at home,” Julia Wolfson, MPP, CLF -Lerner Fellow at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and lead researcher for the study, said.
The study reviewed data from the 2007-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which analyzed 24-hour recall data from more than 9,000 participants 20 years of age and older. The survey collected measures including total calories, grams of fat, sugar and carbohydrates per day. It also gathered data on the number of fast food meals consumed per week and frozen and ready to eat meals consumed in the past 30 days.
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