Association between hours worked in paid employment and diet quality, frequency of eating out and consuming takeaways in the UK

Lucy Sam* (Corresponding Author), Tony Craig, Graham W Horgan, Jennie I Macdiarmid

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Objective:To examine associations between hours worked and diet quality, frequency of eating out and consuming takeaways.Design:Data were taken from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (2008-2014). Associations between hours worked in paid employment and diet quality, assessed using the Diet Quality Index (DQI) and selected foods and nutrients, were tested using linear regression models. Associations between hours worked and frequency of eating out and consuming takeaways were tested using ordinal logistic regression models. All models were adjusted for sex, age, equivalised household income, household composition and household food role.Setting:UK.Participants:Adults (n 2154) aged 19-64 years in employment.Results:Mean (95 % CI) hours worked per week was 36·1 (35·6, 36·6) and mean DQI score was 41·9 (41·2, 42·5) %. Hours worked was not associated with DQI score, frequency of eating out or consuming takeaways. Hours worked was positively associated with consuming red meat, processed meat and alcohol intake. Adults working more hours had lower intake of fibre but higher total fat and saturated fat intakes if they lived in households with children.Conclusions:Working hours may not be the main factor driving poor-quality diets among this sample of UK adults in employment. Focusing on consumption of foods prepared outside the household may not be the most efficient way to improve diet quality as effort is needed at all levels. Although it is unclear what is driving the differences in nutrient intakes according to household composition, they are important to consider when developing interventions to improve healthy eating.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3368-3376
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number18
Early online date13 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019



  • hours worked
  • diet quality index
  • eating out
  • takeaway meals
  • Eating out
  • Hours worked
  • Takeaway meals
  • Diet quality index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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