40-Year Trends in Meal and Snack Eating Behaviors of American Adults

Published:August 01, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2014.06.354

      Abstract

      Background

      Understanding changes in profiles of eating behaviors over time may provide insights into contributors to upward trajectories of obesity in the US population. Yet little is known about whether or not characteristics of meal and snack eating behaviors reported by adult Americans have changed over time.

      Objective

      To examine time trends in the distribution of day’s intake into individual meal and snack behaviors and related attributes in the US adult population.

      Design

      The study was observational with cross-sectional data from national surveys fielded over 40 years.

      Participants/setting

      Nationally representative dietary data from nine National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys conducted from 1971-1974 to 2009-2010 (N=62,298 participants aged 20-74 years) were used to describe eating behaviors.

      Outcomes examined

      The respondent-labeled eating behaviors examined included main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and snacks (before breakfast, between breakfast and lunch, between lunch and dinner, after dinner, or other). For each eating behavior, percent of reporters, relative contribution to 24-hour energy intake, the clock time of report, and intermeal/snack intervals were examined.

      Statistical analysis

      Multivariable logistic and linear regression methods for analysis of complex survey data adjusted for characteristics of respondents in each survey.

      Results

      Over the 40-year span examined reports of each individual named main meal (or all three main meals) declined, but reports of only two out of three meals or the same meal more than once increased; the percentage of 24-hour energy from snacks reported between lunch and dinner or snacks that displaced meals increased; clock times of breakfast and lunch were later, and intervals between dinner and after-dinner snack were shorter. Changes in several snack reporting behaviors (eg, report of any snack or ≥2 snacks), were significant in women only.

      Conclusions

      Several meal and snack eating behaviors of American adults changed over time, with a greater change in snack behaviors of women relative to men.

      Keywords

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      References

        • Levitsky D.A.
        The non-regulation of food intake in humans: Hope for reversing the epidemic of obesity.
        Physiol Behav. 2005; 86: 623-632
        • McKiernan F.
        • Houchins J.A.
        • Mattes R.D.
        Relationships between human thirst, hunger, drinking, and feeding.
        Physiol Behav. 2008; 94: 700-708
      1. Prevalence of overweight, obesity, and extreme obesity among adults: United States, trends 1960-1962 through 2009-2010. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/underweight_adult_07_10/underweight_adult_07_10.pdf. Published 2012. Accessed September 22, 2013.

        • Flegal K.M.
        • Carroll M.D.
        • Kit B.K.
        • Ogden C.L.
        Prevalence of obesity and trends in the distribution of body mass index among US adults, 1999-2010.
        JAMA. 2012; 307: 491-497
        • Kant A.K.
        • Graubard B.I.
        Eating out in America, 1987-2000: Trends and nutritional correlates.
        Prev Med. 2004; 38: 243-249
        • Guthrie J.
        • Lin B.
        • Frazao E.
        Role of food prepared away from home in the American diet, 1977-78 versus 1994-96: Changes and consequences.
        J Nutr Educ Behav. 2002; 34: 140-150
        • Briefel R.R.
        • Johnson C.L.
        Secular trends in dietary intake in the United States.
        Annu Rev Nutr. 2004; 24: 401-431
        • Kant A.K.
        • Graubard B.I.
        Secular trends in patterns of self-reported food consumption of adult Americans: NHANES 1971-1975 to NHANES 1999-2002.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2006; 84: 1215-1223
        • Bleich S.N.
        • Wang Y.C.
        • Wang Y.
        • Gortmaker S.L.
        Increasing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among US adults: 1988-1994 to 1999-2004.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2009; 89: 372-381
        • Piernas C.
        • Popkin B.M.
        Snacking increased among U.S. adults between 1977 and 2006.
        J Nutr. 2010; 140: 325-332
        • Popkin B.M.
        • Duffey K.J.
        Does hunger and satiety drive eating anymore? Increasing eating occasions and decreasing time between eating occasions in the United States.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2010; 91: 1342-1347
      2. Sebastian RS, Wilkinson Enns C, Goldman JD. Snacking patterns of U.S. adults: What we eat in America, NHANES 2007-2008. Food Surveys Research Group Dietary Data Brief No. 4. http://ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=19476. Published June 2011, Accessed October 20, 2013.

      3. BLS Report 1040. Women in the labor force: A databook. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-databook-2012.pdf. Published 2013. Accessed Nov. 14, 2013.

      4. Galinsky E, Auman K, Bond JT. Times are changing. Gender and generation at work and at home. Families and work institute. 2008 National Study of the Changing Workplace. http://familiesandwork.org/downloads/TimesAreChanging.pdf. Published 2011. Accessed November 14, 2013.

        • Dyson L.K.
        American cuisine in the 20th century.
        Food Rev. 2000; 21: 2-7
      5. US Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Marketing Service. Marketing Services Program. The dynamics of change in the US food marketing environment. Agriculture Handbook 728-3. http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/148268/2/Dynamics%20of%20Change.pdf. Published July 2008, Accessed November 14, 2013.

      6. National Restaurant Association. Facts at a glance. http://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/Research/Facts-at-a-Glance. Accessed November 14, 2013.

        • Johnson-Taylor W.L.
        • Fisher R.A.
        • Hubbard V.S.
        • Starke-Reed P.
        • Eggers P.S.
        The change in weight perception of weight status among the overweight: Comparison of NHANES III (1988-1994) and 1999-2004 NHANES.
        Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2008; 5: 9
      7. Using the Food Guide Pyramid. US Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/Fpyr/guide.pdf. Accessed Oct. 23, 2013.

      8. Sample menus for a 2000 calorie pattern. US Department of Agriculture. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/Sample_Menus-2000Cals-DG2010.pdf. Accessed October 23, 2013.

      9. Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. US Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-DGACReport.htm. Published 2011. Accessed August 7, 2013.

      10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Data. NHANES I, II, III, 1990-2000, 2001-2002, 2003-2004, 2005-2006, 2007-2008, 2009-2010. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/nhanes_questionnaires.htm. Accessed July 15, 2013.

      11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Response Rates. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/response_rates_CPS.htm. Accessed August 1, 2013.

        • Kant A.K.
        • Schatzkin A.
        • Graubard B.I.
        • Ballard-Barbash R.
        Frequency of eating occasions and weight change in the NHANES I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study.
        Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1995; 19: 468-474
        • Kant A.K.
        • Graubard B.I.
        Family income and education were related with 30-year time trends in dietary and meal behaviors of American children and adolescents.
        J Nutr. 2013; 143 (Erratum in J Nutr. 2013;143(8):1348): 690-700
      12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey analytic and reporting guidelines. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/analytic_guidelines.htm. Accessed August 1, 2013.

        • Graubard B.I.
        • Korn E.L.
        Predictive margins with survey data.
        Biometrics. 1999; 55: 652-659
        • Korn E.L.
        • Graubard B.I.
        Analysis of Health Surveys.
        John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ1999
        • Moshfegh A.J.
        • Rhodes D.G.
        • Baer D.J.
        • et al.
        The US Department of Agriculture Automated Multiple-Pass Method reduces bias in the collection of energy intakes.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2008; 88: 324-332
      13. Thompson FE, Subar AF. Dietary assessment methodology. http://appliedresearch.cancer.gov/diet/adi/thompson_subar_dietary_assessment_methodology.pdf. Accessed October 22, 2013.

        • Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board
        Dietary Reference Intakes. Applications in Dietary Assessment.
        National Academies Press, Washington, DC2000
        • Klesges R.C.
        • Eck L.H.
        • Ray J.W.
        Who underreports dietary intake in a dietary recall? Evidence from the second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
        J Consult Clin Psychol. 1995; 63: 438-444
        • Briefel R.R.
        • Sempos C.T.
        • McDowell M.A.
        • et al.
        Dietary methods research in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey: Under-reporting of energy intake.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 1997; 65: 203S-209S
        • Kant A.K.
        Nature of dietary reporting by adults in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination survey, 1988-1994.
        J Am Coll Nutr. 2002; 21: 315-327
        • Archer E.
        • Hand G.A.
        • Blair S.N.
        Validity of U.S. Nutritional surveillance: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey caloric energy intake data, 1971-2010.
        PLOS ONE. 2013; 8: e76632
        • MacDiarmid J.
        • Blundell J.
        Assessing dietary intake: Who, what, and why of under-reporting.
        Nutr Res Rev. 1998; 11: 231-253
      14. US Department of Agriculture, Human Nutrition Information Service. Consumer Nutrition Division. Nutrient intake: Individuals in 48 states, year 1977-78. Nationwide Food Consumption Survey, 1977-78. USDA Report No. 1-2. 1984.

        • Dixon L.B.
        • Ernst N.D.
        Choose a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in total fat: Subtle changes to a familiar message.
        J Nutr. 2001; 131: 510S-526S
      15. What We Eat in America, NHANES 2005-2006, 2007-2008, 2009-2010. Data tables. www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/fsrg. Accessed March 4, 2014.

        • Kant A.K.
        • Ballard-Barbash R.
        • Schatzkin A.
        Evening eating and its relation to self-reported body weight and nutrient intake in women, CSFII 1985-86.
        J Am Coll Nutr. 1995; 14: 358-363
        • Kant A.K.
        • Schatzkin A.
        • Ballard-Barbash R.
        Evening eating and subsequent long-term weight change in a national cohort.
        Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1997; 21: 407-412
        • Arble D.M.
        • Bass J.
        • Laposky A.D.
        • Vitaterna M.H.
        • Turek F.W.
        Circadian timing of food intake contributes to weight gain.
        Obesity (Silver Spring). 2009; 17: 2100-2102
        • Garaulet M.
        • Gómez-Abellán P.
        • Alburquerque-Béjar J.J.
        • Lee Y.C.
        • Ordovás J.M.
        • Scheer F.A.
        Timing of food intake predicts weight loss effectiveness.
        Int J Obes (Lond). 2013; 37 (Erratum in: Int J Obes (Lond). 2013;37(4):624): 604-611
        • Scheer F.A.
        • Morris C.J.
        • Shea S.A.
        The internal circadian clock increases hunger and appetite in the evening independent of food intake and other behaviors.
        Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013; 21: 421-423
        • Marmonier C.
        • Chapelot D.
        • Fantino M.
        • Louis-Sylvestre J.
        Snacks consumed in a nonhungry state have poor satiating efficiency: Influence of snack composition on substrate utilization and hunger.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2002; 76: 518-528
        • Almiron-Roig E.
        • Palla L.
        • Guest K.
        • et al.
        Factors that determine energy compensation: A systematic review of preload studies.
        Nutr Rev. 2013; 71: 458-473

      Biography

      A. K. Kant is a professor, Department of Family, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences, Queens College of the City University of New York, Flushing.

      Biography

      B. I. Graubard is a senior investigator, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Biostatistics Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.