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Nutrition. 2014 Sep;30(9):1015-21. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.02.004. Epub 2014 Feb 26.

Food away from home and body mass outcomes: taking heterogeneity into account enhances quality of results.

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  • 1Graduate School of Public Health and Institute of Health Services Research, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea.
  • 2School of Pharmacy, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, South Korea.
  • 3College of Pharmacy, Yonsei Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Yonsei University, Incheon, South Korea. Electronic address:



The aim of this study was to explore the heterogeneous association of consumption of food away from home (FAFH) with individual body mass outcomes including body mass index and waist circumference over the entire conditional distribution of each outcome.


Information on 16,403 adults obtained from nationally representative data on nutrition and behavior in Korea was used. A quantile regression model captured the variability of the association of FAFH with body mass outcomes across the entire conditional distribution of each outcome measure. Heavy FAFH consumption was defined as obtaining ≥1400 kcal from FAFH on a single day.


Heavy FAFH consumption, specifically at full-service restaurants, was significantly associated with higher body mass index (+0.46 kg/m2 at the 50th quantile, 0.55 at the 75th, 0.66 at the 90th, and 0.44 at the 95th) and waist circumference (+0.96 cm at the 25th quantile, 1.06 cm at the 50th, 1.35 cm at the 75th, and 0.96 cm at the 90th quantiles) with overall larger associations at higher quantiles. Findings of the study indicate that conventional regression methods may mask important heterogeneity in the association between heavy FAFH consumption and body mass outcomes.


Further public health efforts are needed to improve the nutritional quality of affordable FAFH choices and nutrition education and to establish a healthy food consumption environment.


Body mass index; Food away from home; Heavy consumption; Quantile regression; Waist circumference

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