Involvement of young Australian adults in meal preparation: cross-sectional associations with sociodemographic factors and diet quality.
Smith KJ., McNaughton SA., Gall SL., Blizzard L., Dwyer T., Venn AJ.
Involvement in meal preparation has the potential to affect diet quality, but has not been thoroughly investigated. The study aims were to describe the involvement of young adult men and women in meal preparation and to investigate whether extent of involvement was associated with diet quality. During 2004 to 2006, a national sample of 2,814 Australian adults aged 26 to 36 years completed a self-administered questionnaire on demographics, diet, and lifestyle factors. Participants were asked to report who was usually responsible for preparing the main meal on working days. Responses were categorized as "myself," "shared," or "someone else." Diet quality was assessed by calculating the mean number of daily servings for each food group. Analysis of variance was used to test for differences in means of dietary intake data. More women (65%) than men (29%) had sole responsibility for meal preparation. Shared meal preparation was reported by 23% of women and 27% of men. Factors associated with greater involvement in meal preparation included marital status, education, occupation, and physical activity. After adjusting for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors, men who prepared the main meal themselves had a higher intake of lean meat and alternatives. Women who shared the meal preparation had higher intakes of vegetables and dairy; however, these differences in diet quality were only small. These results suggest that strategies seeking to motivate greater involvement in meal preparation might not be sufficient to markedly improve diet quality in young Australian adults.