Self-ratings of diet quality are inversely related to frequency of eating out

A chart showing self ratings of diet quality of meals from home and from fast foods.

Although it is possible for consumers to choose more healthful foods when they dine out, away-from-home meals and snacks tend to contain more calories and to be less nutritious than food prepared at home. Self-rated measures of diet healthfulness from the 2007-08 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reveal that Americans seem to recognize the pitfalls of eating away from home, especially at fast food places. People who rated their diets as "Poor" ate food prepared away from home almost twice as often, and ate fast food three times as often, as those who rated their diets as "Excellent." This chart is from "Americans More Realistic About Their Diet Quality" in the March 2012 issue of ERS's Amber Waves magazine.

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