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The impact of restaurant consumption among US adults: effects on energy and nutrient intakes

  • Binh T Nguyen (a1) and Lisa M Powell (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 30 July 2014

To examine the effect of fast-food and full-service restaurant consumption on adults’ energy intake and dietary indicators.


Individual-level fixed-effects regression model estimation based on two different days of dietary intake data was used.


Parallel to the rising obesity epidemic in the USA, there has been a marked upward trend in total energy intake derived from food away from home.


The full sample included 12 528 respondents aged 20–64 years who completed 24 h dietary recall interviews for both day 1 and day 2 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2004, 2005–2006, 2007–2008 and 2009–2010.


Fast-food and full-service restaurant consumption, respectively, was associated with an increase in daily total energy intake of 813·75 kJ (194·49 kcal) and 858·04 kJ (205·21 kcal) and with higher intakes of saturated fat (3·48 g and 2·52 g) and Na (296·38 mg and 451·06 mg). Individual characteristics moderated the impacts of restaurant food consumption with adverse impacts on net energy intake being larger for black adults compared with their white and Hispanic counterparts and greater for middle-income v. high-income adults.


Adults’ fast-food and full-service restaurant consumption was associated with higher daily total energy intake and poorer dietary indicators.

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Public Health Nutrition
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