NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Grazing, Goods and Girth: Determinants and Effects

Daniel S. Hamermesh

NBER Working Paper No. 15277
Issued in August 2009
NBER Program(s):   LS

Using the 2006-07 American Time Use Survey and its Eating and Health Module, I show that over half of adult Americans report grazing (secondary eating/drinking) on a typical day, with grazing time almost equaling primary eating/drinking time. An economic model predicts that higher wage rates (price of time) will lead to substitution of grazing for primary eating/drinking, especially by raising the number of grazing incidents relative to meals. This prediction is confirmed in these data. Eating meals more frequently is associated with lower BMI and better self-reported health, as is grazing more frequently. Food purchases are positively related to time spent eating—substitution of goods for time is difficult—but are lower when eating time is spread over more meals.

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Published: Hamermesh, Daniel S. "Grazing, Goods and Girth: Determinants and Effects." Economics and Human Biolgoy, Vol 8, No. 1, March 2010, pp. 2-15.

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