Time spent eating and drinking decreased from 2006-08 to 2014-16

Time spent eating and drinking decreased from 2006-08 to 2014-16

Data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) show that, on an average day over 2014-16, Americans ages 18 and older spent 64.5 minutes eating and drinking as a primary or main activity and 16.8 minutes eating as a secondary activity—that is, eating while engaged in another activity considered primary by the survey respondent, such as watching television or working. Although the amount of time devoted to secondary eating was statistically unchanged from 2006-08, the time spent in primary eating and drinking decreased by a little more than 3 minutes—a 5-percent decline from 2006-08 to 2014-16. The sum of the time allocated to both primary eating and drinking and secondary eating decreased from 85.0 minutes per day in 2006-08 to 81.3 minutes per day in 2014-16. Less time spent eating could reflect more hectic lifestyles, but not necessarily healthier ones. Recent research suggests that eating more slowly and mindfully may help curb excess food consumption and weight gain. This chart appears in the ERS report, Adult Eating and Health Patterns: Evidence From the 2014-16 Eating & Health Module of the American Time Use Survey, released on October 30, 2018.


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