Watching TV and working are the top activities that accompany secondary eating
On an average day in 2016, Americans age 15 and older spent 63.6 minutes eating and drinking as a primary—or main—activity, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey (ATUS). In addition, they spent 17.2 minutes eating as a secondary activity—that is, eating while engaged in another activity considered primary by the individual, such as watching television, driving, preparing meals, or working. Five activities accounted for 57.4 percent of all the activities that Americans reported engaging in while eating as a secondary activity. Of these top five activities, watching television (22.7 percent of all accompanying activities) and working one’s main job (22.6 percent) just about tied for the most common activity. The remaining three activities each accounted for less than 5 percent of responses: socializing and communicating with others (4.9 percent), food and drink preparation (4.6 percent), and reading for personal interest (2.6 percent). The data for this chart and other time-use information can be found in ERS’s Eating and Health Module (ATUS) data product.