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Module Questions

American Time Use Survey

Eating and drinking beverages as a secondary activity

Because many Americans eat while engaged in other activities, such as driving or watching television, information is needed on eating as both a primary and secondary activity. This question records when and during which activities the respondent was eating.


We're interested in finding out more about how people fit meals and snacks into their schedules. Yesterday, you reported eating or drinking between [fill times from respondent's time diary]. Were there any other times you were eating yesterday—for example while you were doing something else? About how long would you say you were eating while you were [fill activity]?

The EH Module also asked about drinking soft drinks as a secondary activity.


Not including plain water, were there any other times yesterday when you were drinking any beverages? Were any of the beverages soft drinks such as cola, root beer, or ginger ale? Was the soft drink diet, regular, or did you have both kinds?

Grocery shopping

Information about grocery shopping preferences and fast food purchases will help to understand household consumer demand for food and fast food.


Are you the person who usually does the grocery shopping in your household? Where do you get the majority of your groceries—do you get them at the grocery store, supercenter, warehouse club, drugstore or convenience store, or some other place? What is the primary reason you shop there—is it because of price, location, quality of products, variety of products, customer service, or other reason?


Thinking back over the last seven days, did you purchase any prepared food from a deli, carry-out, delivery food, or fast food? How many times in the last seven days did you purchase prepared food? Did you purchase any prepared food yesterday?

Meal preparation

Questions on meal preparation will help to understand food safety practices in the United States.


Are you the person who usually prepares the meals in your household?

In the last 7 days, did you prepare any meals with meat, poultry or seafood? Did you use a food or meat thermometer when preparing any of those meals?

In the last 7 days, did you drink or serve unpasteurized or raw milk?

Food sufficiency and food assistance

This information will allow analysis of the time use patterns of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) participants versus others, and in particular, low-income persons who are not participating in the program.


Which of the following statements best describes the amount of food eaten in your household in the last 30 days—enough food to eat, sometimes not enough to eat, or often not enough to eat?

In the past 30 days, did you or any member of this household receive [fill State SNAP name, English or Spanish], SNAP, or food stamp benefits?

In the last 30 days, did you or any member of your household receive benefits from the WIC program, that is, the Women, Infants and Children program?

Household income

This question asks if total household income before taxes was above or below a certain amount. The ATUS Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) software automatically calculates the poverty thresholds of 185 and 130 percent based on the respondent's household composition. These income thresholds—185 percent and 130 percent—determine income eligibility for food assistance programs.


Last month, was your total household income before taxes more or less than [fill 185 percent of poverty threshold] per month?
If answer was LESS:
Was it more or less than [fill 130 percent of poverty threshold] per month?

Height, weight, and general health

From this self-reported information, Body Mass Index (BMI) can be calculated, and time use patterns, such as activity levels and eating patterns can be analyzed by BMI levels.


I'm going to switch topics and ask you a few final questions about your physical health that might affect how you use your time. In general, would you say that your health is excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor?

During the past seven days, did you participate in any physical activities or exercises for fitness and health such as running, bicycling, working out in a gym, walking for exercise, or playing sports? How many times over the past seven days did you take part in these activities?

How tall are you without shoes? How much do you weigh without shoes?

A pdf version of the Eating & Health Module 2014-16 Questionnaire 16x16 - PDF is available.

Last updated: Monday, May 16, 2016

For more information contact: Karen Hamrick