Frequent consumption of meals prepared outside the home is associated with an increased risk of death.


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Dining out is a popular activity around the world, but there has been little research on its association with health outcomes. The researchers analyzed the association between eating out and the risk of death and concluded that eating out too frequently is significantly associated with an increased risk of death from all causes, warranting further investigation. Your results appear in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Eating out is a popular activity. The US Department of Agriculture recently estimated that Americans’ daily energy intake from food outside the home increased from 17 percent in 1977-1978 to 34 percent in 2011-2012. At the same time, the number of restaurants has grown steadily and the restaurant industry sales are projected to increase significantly.

Although some restaurants offer high-quality food, the dietary quality of meals away from home, especially from fast food chains, is often lower compared to meals cooked at home. Evidence has shown that meals outside the home tend to be higher in energy density, fat, and sodium, but lower in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protective nutrients like dietary fiber and antioxidants.

“Emerging evidence, although still limited, suggests that eating out is often associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes, and biomarkers of other chronic diseases,” explained lead researcher Wei Bao, MD, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA “However, little is known about the association between eating out and mortality risk .

Researchers analyzed data from responses to questionnaires administered during in-home personal interviews of 35,084 adults age 20 and older who participated in the 1999-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Respondents reported on their dietary habits, including the frequency of meals prepared outside the home. “We linked these records to death records through December 31, 2015, and we looked especially at all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and cancer mortality,” noted first author Yang Du, MD, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA.







Very frequent consumption (two meals or more per day) of meals prepared outside the home is significantly associated with an increased risk of mortality from all causes, reports a new study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Credit: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

During 291,475 person-years of follow-up, 2,781 deaths occurred, including 511 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 638 deaths from cancer. After adjusting for age, sex, race / ethnicity, socioeconomic status, dietary and lifestyle factors, and body mass index, the mortality risk ratio among participants who ate meals prepared outside the home very frequently (two meals or more per day) compared to those who rarely ate meals prepared outside the home (less than one meal per week) was 1.49 (95% CI 1.05 to 2.13) for mortality for all causes, 1.18 (95% CI 0.55 to 2.55) for cardiovascular mortality and 1.67 (95% CI 0.87 to 3.21) for cancer mortality.

“Our findings from this large nationally representative sample of American adults show that frequent consumption of meals prepared outside the home is significantly associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality,” commented Dr. Du.

“This is one of the first studies to quantify the association between eating out and mortality,” concluded Dr. Bao. “Our findings, in line with previous studies, support that eating out is often associated with adverse health consequences and may inform future dietary guidelines to recommend reducing consumption of meals prepared outside the home.”

“The take-home message is that frequent consumption of meals prepared outside the home may not be a healthy habit. Instead, people should be encouraged to consider preparing more meals at home,” the researchers concluded.

Future studies are still needed to take a closer look at the association of eating out with death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, and other chronic diseases.

“It is important to note that the study design for this research examines associations between the frequency of meals prepared outside the home and mortality. While encouraging clients to consider preparing healthy meals at home, nutritionists Registered dietitians can also focus on how healthy restaurant menu selections can be. Tailoring strategies to each customer by reviewing the menus of the restaurants they frequent can help them make healthy food choices, “added co-researcher Linda G. Snetselaar, Ph.D., RDN, LD, FAND, Professor and President of Preventive Nutrition Education, Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA, and Editor at Head of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


Eating out: a recipe for poor nutrition, study finds


More information:
“Association between the frequency of meals away from home and the risk of mortality from all causes and specific causes”, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.jand.2021.01.012

Citation: Frequent consumption of prepared meals away from home associated with increased risk of death (2021, March 25) retrieved March 25, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-03-frequent-consumption-meals -home-death .html

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