Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2011 Aug 2;8:84. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-8-84.

Time use choices and healthy body weight: a multivariate analysis of data from the American Time Use Survey.

Author information

  • 1Department of Family and Consumer Studies, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.



We examine the relationship between time use choices and healthy body weight as measured by survey respondents' body mass index (BMI). Using data from the 2006 and 2007 American Time Use Surveys, we expand upon earlier research by including more detailed measures of time spent eating as well as measures of physical activity time and sedentary time. We also estimate three alternative models that relate time use to BMI.


Our results suggest that time use and BMI are simultaneously determined. The preferred empirical model reveals evidence of an inverse relationship between time spent eating and BMI for women and men. In contrast, time spent drinking beverages while simultaneously doing other things and time spent watching television/videos are positively linked to BMI. For women only, time spent in food preparation and clean-up is inversely related to BMI while for men only, time spent sleeping is inversely related to BMI. Models that include grocery prices, opportunity costs of time, and nonwage income reveal that as these economic variables increase, BMI declines.


In this large, nationally representative data set, our analyses that correct for time use endogeneity reveal that the Americans' time use decisions have implications for their BMI. The analyses suggest that both eating time and context (i.e., while doing other tasks simultaneously) matters as does time spent in food preparation, and time spent in sedentary activities. Reduced form models suggest that shifts in grocery prices, opportunity costs of time, and nonwage income may be contributing to alterations in time use patterns and food choices that have implications for BMI.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk