This page lists key publications and resources based on data from the Eating and Health Module (ATUS):

ERS publications

Food-Related Time Use: Changes and Demographic Differences

This report uses data from the 2004-17 American Time Use Survey to present an overview of food-related time-use patterns over time. The data is for both the U.S. population aged 15 and older— and for U.S. subgroups defined by educational attainment, household type, and other demographic factors. (November 2019)

Adult Eating and Health Patterns: Evidence From the 2014-16 Eating & Health Module of the American Time Use Survey

With data from the 2014-16 Eating & Health Module (EHM) of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), this report presents national statistics on eating and health patterns for the U.S. adult population as a whole, and for a wide variety of important demographic subgroups. This report also examines whether and how certain behaviors have changed over time, using data from the 2006-08 EHM.

"Americans Spend an Average of 37 Minutes a Day Preparing and Serving Food and Cleaning Up"

This article examines the time spent on meal preparation by various groups, and includes a comparison between those who purchased fast food and those who did not. (Amber Waves, November 2016).

Americans' Eating Patterns and Time Spent on Food: The 2014 Eating & Health Module Data

This report uses data from the 2014 USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) Eating & Health Module of the American Time Use Survey to describe Americans’ eating and other food-related time-use patterns, including grocery shopping and meal preparation (July 2016).

The Role of Time in Fast-Food Purchasing Behavior in the United States

This study examines the effects of time-use behaviors on fast-food purchases in the United States. Findings reveal that those who purchase fast food do so to save time, and the share of the population that purchased fast food on a given day stayed fairly constant during and after the 2007-09 recession (November 2014).

Nonresponse Bias Analysis of Body Mass Index Data in the Eating and Health Module

Findings showed that any nonresponse bias associated with height and weight data appears small and would not affect future analyses of correlations between Body Mass Index (BMI) and time use (August 2012).

"Investigating the Time Use Patterns of Obese Americans"

This article examines time spent on various activities by individuals in different body mass index (BMI) groups. Across all BMI groups, those who were obese over the 2006-08 period spent the longest amount of time watching TV, and the shortest amount of time engaged in sports and exercise (Amber Waves, June 2012).

How Much Time Do Americans Spend on Food?

This report uses data from the 2006-08 USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) Eating & Health Module of the American Time Use Survey to present an overview of Americans' eating and other food-related time use patterns (November 2011).

"Shopping for, Preparing, and Eating Food: Where Does the Time Go?"

This article describes time use patterns of SNAP participants and low-income nonparticipants (Amber Waves, December 2009).

"Working Parents Outsource Children's Meals"

This article describes time use patterns of employed persons and whether children in the household obtain meals at school (Amber Waves, March 2009).

"How Much Time Do Americans Spend Eating?"

This article describes time Americans spent on eating and drinking beverages in 2006 (Amber Waves, June 2008).

Who Has Time To Cook? How Family Resources Influence Food Preparation

Analysis of how family resources affect food preparation time (May 2007).

"How Much Time Do Americans Spend Preparing and Eating Food?"

This article describes time Americans spent on grocery shopping, food preparation, and eating in 2003 (Amber Waves, November 2005).

Resource links

Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey (ATUS)Provides access to the ATUS data, survey methodology, and estimates of Americans' time spent on various activities.

NIH-National Cancer Institute (NCI), Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, Behavioral Research ProgramServes as a funding partner with USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) of the ATUS Eating and Health Module. The Applied Research Program at NCI supports surveys and research to assess risk factors and health behaviors that affect cancer incidence, mortality, and survival.

Metabolic Equivalents for Activities in the American Time Use SurveyBridge between the Compendium of Physical Activities and the ATUS Activity Lexicon.

American Time Use Survey Extract BuilderData extractor that can make the ATUS microdata easier to use.

University of Maryland Population Research CenterHosted the 2020 Time Use Data for Health and Well Being Conference; 2018 Time Use Across the Life Course Conference2016 Time Use Across the Life Course Conference; the 2014 Perspectives on Time Use in the U.S. Conference; the 2011 International Perspectives on Time Use Conference; and the 2009 American Time Use Research Conference.

University of Oxford Centre for Time Use ResearchProvides access to harmonized multinational time use data. The Centre for Time Use Research also provides access to the American Heritage Time Use Study, a database of five decades of time use/diary samples.

International Association for Time Use Research—International organization devoted to time-use data collection and research. The organization publishes the electronic International Journal of Time Use Research.

Government reports and publications (non-ERS)

Disclaimer: The authors of the following studies are not affiliated with ERS; this information is provided for your convenience and does not constitute an endorsement.

Drago, R. W. and J. C. Stewart. "Time-Use Surveys: issues in data collection on multitasking," Monthly Labor Review 133(8):17-31, August 2010.

German Federal Statistical Office. In-depth review on time-use surveys, 58th plenary session, Conference of European Statisticians, Paris, France, 8-10 June 2010.

Journal articles

Disclaimer: The authors of the following studies are not affiliated with ERS; this information is provided for your convenience and does not constitute an endorsement.

Rhodes, M., & Kuchler, F. "Determinants of weekly raw milk use by at-home meal preparers in the USA: Evidence from the 2014–2016 American Time Use Survey – Eating and Health Module," Public Health Nutrition, 1-12. doi:10.1017/S136898002000066X, 2020.

Gough, M., et al. "The Role of Time Use Behaviors in the Risk of Obesity among Low-Income Mothers," Womens Health Issues 29(1): 23-30, 2019.

Sharif, M.Z., H.E. Alcalá, S.L. Albert, and H. Fischer. "Deconstructing family meals: Do family structure, gender and employment status influence the odds of having a family meal?" Appetite 114: 187-93, 2017.

Tajeu, G.S. and B. Sen. "New Pathways From Short Sleep to Obesity? Associations Between Short Sleep and "Secondary" Eating and Drinking Behavior," American Journal of Health Promotion 31(3): 181-88, 2017.

Hamrick, K. S. and M. Andrews. "SNAP Participants' Eating Patterns over the Benefit Month: A Time Use Perspective," PLoS One 11(7): e0158422, 2016.

Jarosz, E. "Food for Thought: A Comparative Analysis of Eating Behavior in the United States, Poland, and Armenia," Food, Culture & Society 19(4): 655-79, 2016.

Patel, V. C., A. M. Spaeth, and M. Basner. "Relationships between time use and obesity in a representative sample of Americans," Obesity (Silver Spring) 24(10): 2164-75, 2016.

Wojan, T. R. and K. S. Hamrick. "Can Walking or Biking to Work Really Make a Difference? Compact Development, Observed Commuter Choice and Body Mass Index," PLoS One 10(7): e0130903, 2015.

Shinall, J. B. "Occupational characteristics and the obesity wage penalty," Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper (16-12): 16-23, 2015.

Mazumder, B. and Z. Seeskin. "Breakfast Skipping, Extreme Commutes, and the Sex Composition at Birth," Biodemography Social Biology 61(2): 187-208, 2015.

Courtemanche, C., J. C. Pinkston, and J. Stewart. "Adjusting body mass for measurement error with invalid validation data," Economics & Human Biology 19: 275-93, 2015.

Sliwa, S. A., A. Must, F. Perea, and C. Economos. "Maternal employment, acculturation, and time spent in food-related behaviors among Hispanic mothers in the United States: Evidence from the American Time Use Survey," Appetite, 87(1): 10-19, 2014.

Tudor-Locke, C., J. M. S. Jr., P. T. Katzmarzyk, W. Liu, K. S. Hamrick, and W. D. Johnson. "Body Mass Index: Accounting for Full Time Sedentary Occupation and 24-Hr Self-Reported Time Use," PLOS One 9(10): e109051, 2014.

Senia, M., H. Jensen, and O. Zhylyevskyy. "Time in eating and food preparation among single adults," Review of Economics of the Household: 1-34, 2014.

Abramowitz, J. "The connection between working hours and body mass index in the U.S.: a time use analysis," Review of Economics of the Household, DOI 10.1007/s11150-014-9267-4, 2014.

Oh, A., T. Erinosho, G. Dunton, M. P. F and D. Berrigan. "Cross-sectional examination of physical and social contexts of episodes of eating and drinking in a national sample of US adults," Public Health Nutrition: 1-9, 2014.

Yang, J. and S. French. "The travel–obesity connection: discerning the impacts of commuting trips with the perspective of individual energy expenditure and time use," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 40(4): 617–629, 2013.

Kang, H. "Social integration: How is it related to self-rated health?" Advances in Aging Research 02(01): 10-20, 2013.

Hamermesh, D. S. "Tall or taller, pretty or prettier: is discrimination absolute or relative?" IZA Journal of Labor Economics 1(2), 2012.

Kalenkoski, C. M. and K. S. Hamrick. "How Does Time Poverty Affect Behavior? A Look at Eating and Physical Activity," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy 35(1): 89-105, 2012.

Podor, M. and T.J. Halliday. "Health status and the allocation of time," Health Economics 21(5): 514-527, 2012.

Zick, C. D., R. B. Stevens, and W. K. Bryant. "Time use choices and healthy body weight: A multivariate analysis of data from the American Time Use Survey," International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 8(84), 2011.

Davis, G. C. and W. You. "Not enough money or not enough time to satisfy the Thrifty Food Plan? A cost difference approach for estimating a money–time threshold," Food Policy 36(2): 101-107, 2011.

Spears, D. "Economic Decision-Making in Poverty Depletes Behavioral Control," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy 11(1): Article 72, 2011.

Roy, M., D. L. Millimet, and R. Tchernis. "Federal nutrition programs and childhood obesity: inside the black box," Review of Economics of the Household 10(1): 1-38, 2011.

Jonas, D. E., Y. Ibuka, and Louise B. Russell. "How Much Time Do Adults Spend on Health-related Self-care? Results from the American Time Use Survey," The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 24(4): 380-390, 2011.

Kolodinsky, J. M. and A. B. Goldstein. "Time Use and Food Pattern Influences on Obesity," Obesity:1-9, May 2011.

Zick, C. D. and R. B. Stevens. "Time spent eating and its implications for Americans' energy balance," Social Indicators Research 101(2): 267-273, 2011.

Reifschneider, M., K. Hamrick, and J. Lacey. "Exercise, eating patterns, and obesity: evidence from the ATUS and its eating & health module," Social Indicators Research 101(2):215-219, 2011.

Hamermesh, D. S. "Incentives, time use and BMI: The roles of eating, grazing and goods," Economics & Human Biology 8(1):2-15, 2010.

Davis, G. C. and W. You. "The time cost of food at home: general and food stamp participant profiles," Applied Economics 42(20): 2537-2552, 2010.

Dunton, G. F., D. Berrigan, et al. "Joint associations of physical activity and sedentary behaviors with body mass index: Results from a time use survey of U.S. adults," International Journal of Obesity 33(12):1427-1436, 2009.

Zick, C. D. and R. B. Stevens. "Trends in Americans' food-related time use: 1975-2006," Public Health Nutrition 13(07):1064-1072, 2009.

Russell, L.B., Ibuka, Y. & Carr, D. “How Much Time Do Patients Spend on Outpatient Visits?Patient-Patient-Centered-Outcome-Res 1, 211–222, 2008.

Hamermesh, D. S. "Time to eat: Household production under increasing income inequality," American Journal of Agricultural Economics 89(4): 852-863, 2007.

Working papers and other publications

Disclaimer: The authors of the following studies are not affiliated with ERS; this information is provided for your convenience and does not constitute an endorsement.

Xiang, D., et al. “A Reconsideration of the Sugar Sweetened Beverage Tax in a Household Production Model,” Cesifo Working Papers. 2018.

Alagsam, Fuad Mohammed, "Three Essays in Food Consumption and Health Related Issues," Theses and Dissertations--Agricultural Economics. 55, 2017.

Scharadin, Benjamin Paul, “Three Essays on Household Committed Activities and Diet Quality,” Theses and Dissertations—Agricultural, Environmental, and Regional Economics, 2017.

Giuntella, O. and F. Mazzonna. "If You Don't Snooze You Lose: Evidence on Health and Weight," IZA, 2016.

Hamrick, Karen S. "Do Americans Eat Meals Anymore or Do They Just Snack?" chapter 7 in The Economics of Multitasking, C.M. Kalenkoski and G. Foster, eds. ISBN 9781137381439, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2015.

Monson, S. "Secondary eating and obesity in the United States," Master’s Thesis, Rollings School of Public Health, Emory University, 2015.

Kolodinsky, J. and J. Castle. "Mother/Child Eating and Drinking Patterns by Weight and Ethnicity," Agricultural & Applied Economics Association 2014 annual meeting, Minneapolis, MN, July 27-29, 2014.

Courtemanche, C., J. C. Pinkston and J. Stewart. "Adjusting Body Mass for Measurement Error with Invalid Validation Data," National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 19928, 2014.

Kolodinsky, J. "Mother/Child Food Preparation, Race/Ethnicity and Weight in the United States," Family Socioeconomic and Cultural Issues: A Continuing Home Economics Concern, IFHE monograph in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of Family, International Federation for Home Economics, 2014.

Abramowitz, J. "Essays on Health, Family, and Work Choices," PhD dissertation, University of Washington, 2013.

Manan, R. "Three essays on the effect of public policies on infant and adolescent health," Southern Methodist University, PhD dissertation, 2012.

Vorisek, L. "Differences in the Amount of Time Spent on Food Shopping, Preparation and Consumption by Obesity Status in US Adults," School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Ohio State University, undergraduate research theses and honors research, 2012.

Rudi, J. "Two Applied Economics Essays: Trade Duration in U.S. Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Imports & Goods—Time Elasticity of Substitution in Household Food Production for SNAP participants and nonparticipants," Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Blacksburg, VA, Master of Science thesis, 2012.

Waehrer, G. and P. Deb. "Food Stamp Effects on Food Preparation and Consumption Patterns," Contractor and Cooperator Report No. 75, USDA, NAL. June 2012.

Zick, C. D. "The Role of Time Use in Promoting Healthy Energy Balance," Contractor and Cooperator Report No. 70, USDA, NAL. December 2011.

Woodward, J. "Time as an Ingredient in Meal Production and Consumption," Department of Economics, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Working Paper 11-12, July 15, 2011.

Vargas, A. J. "Health and Health Habits among Mexicans Immigrants to the United States: A Time Use Perspective," working paper, Texas Tech University, October 2011.

Kolodinsky, J. and A. Goldstein. "What’s Time Got to Do with It? An Investigation of Obesity in Male versus Female Single Headed Households," Consumer Interests Annual, American Council on Consumer Interests, 2011.

Spears, D. "Economic Decision-making in Poverty Depletes Behavioral Control," Center for Economic Policy Studies Working Paper Number 213, Princeton Univeristy, December 2010.

Pham-Kanter, G. "The Gender Weight Gap: Sons, Daughters, and Maternal Weight," November 7, 2010.

Christian, T. J. "Essays in Health Economics: A Focus on the Built Environment," Department of Economics, Georgia State University, PhD dissertation, 2010.

Christian, T. J. "Opportunity Costs Surrounding Exercise and Dietary Behaviors: Quantifying Trade-offs Between Commuting Time and Health-Related Activities," Working paper, Georgia State University, October 2009.

Hamermesh, D. S. "Grazing, Goods and Girth: Determinants and Effects," National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Number 15277, August 2009.

Podor, M. "Health Status and the Allocation of Time," University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Working Paper Number 09-7, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, August 2009.

Andrews, M., K. Hamrick, and C. Kalenkoski. "Time Use, Food Security and Supplemental Nutritional Assistance (SNAP) Participation," American Time Use Research Conference, June 25-26, 2009, College Park, MD, 2009.

Zick, C. D. and R. B. Stevens. "Is Dinner Ready Yet? The Time Implications of Participating in the Food Stamp Program," American Time Use Research Conference, June 25-26, 2009, College Park, MD, 2009.

Kolodinsky, J. "Obesity and Time Use-A First Look Using ATUS Data," Consumer Interests Annual, American Council on Consumer Interests, 2008.

Hamrick, K. S. "Collecting Data on Eating Patterns, Obesity Risk and Food Access: The Food and Eating Module," Consumer Interests Annual, American Council on Consumer Interests, 2006.