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Public Health Nutr. 2002 Jun;5(3):441-8.

Foods prepared outside the home: association with selected nutrients and body mass index in adult Australians.

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Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, School of Health Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood Campus, Victoria, Australia.



To determine the proportion of energy from foods prepared outside the home (FPOH) and the relationships with energy and nutrient intakes and body mass index (BMI).


A nutrition survey of a representative sample of the Australian population aged 18 years and over Measure used was a 24-hour dietary recall. Underreporters (energy intake/estimated basal metabolic rate (EI/BMR) <0.9) were excluded from analysis. Daily energy and selected nutrient intakes were calculated using a 1996 nutrient composition database for all foods/beverages during the 24-hour period.


On average FPOH contributed a significant 13% to total energy intake. About a third of the sample had consumed FPOH in the last 24 hours and on average this group consumed a third of their total energy as FPOH. The relative contributions of fat (for men and women) and alcohol (for women) were significantly higher for those in the top tertile of FPOH consumers. The intakes of fibre and selected micronutrients (calcium, iron, zinc, folate and vitamin C) were significantly lower in this group. After adjustment for age and income no relationship between FPOH and BMI was observed.


FPOH make a significant contribution to the energy intake of a third of the Australian population. FPOH contribute to poor nutritional intakes. Altering the supply of FPOH may be an effective means of improving diets at a population level.

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