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The influence of gender, age, education and household size on meal preparation and food shopping responsibilities

  • Lee A Flagg (a1), Bisakha Sen (a2), Meredith Kilgore (a2) and Julie L Locher (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 30 August 2013

To examine the extent to which the gendered division of labour persists within households in the USA in regard to meal planning/preparation and food shopping activities.


Secondary analysis of cross-sectional data.


2007–2008 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.


Sub-sample of 3195 adults at least 20 years old who had a spouse or partner.


Analyses revealed that the majority of women and men reported they shared in both meal planning/preparing and food shopping activities (meal planning/preparation: women 54 % and men 56 %; food shopping: women 60 % and men 57 %). Results from multinomial logistic regression analyses indicated that, compared with men, women were more likely to take primary responsibility than to share this responsibility and less likely to report having no responsibility for these tasks. Gender differences were observed for age/cohort, education and household size.


This study may have implications for public health nutritional initiatives and the well-being of families in the USA.

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