Eating Patterns and Weight Status: Evidence from the American Time Use Survey

Overweight and obesity rates are a source of increasing concern for the long-term health and well-being of the US population. This work examines the relationship between eating time and Body Mass Index (BMI) using a representative sample of US respondents from the American Time Use Survey data. Different eating modalities (primary and secondary) and locations (at home and away-from-home) are analyzed to provide evidence on how slow and fast eating may affect the weight status when controlling for physical exercise. Lewbel’s instrumental variables are used to account for potential omitted variable and reverse causality bias. The set of instruments is also complemented by dummy variables indicating whether respondents worked from home or away from home in the diary day. Primary eating time is associated with lower BMI values in 2006-08 during weekdays, but the relationship between eating time and BMI is no longer significant in 2014-16. Physical exercise remains the only factor showing a strong negative association with BMI.


Fabiana Natali

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