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Previous research has shown that involvement in meal preparation is positively associated with better diet quality. However, it is unclear whether there is an association between involvement in meal preparation and being overweight or obese. This study investigated whether the level of involvement in meal preparation was associated with objectively measured weight status in young adults. During 2004-2006, a national sample of 1,996 Australian adults aged 26 to 36 years completed a self-administered questionnaire including questions on sociodemographic characteristics, diet, and physical activity. Participants were asked to report who usually prepared the main meal on working days and responses were categorized as "myself," "shared," or "someone else." Waist circumference, weight, and height were measured by trained staff. Moderate abdominal obesity was defined as waist circumference ≥94 cm for men and ≥80 cm for women. Overweight was defined as body mass index (calculated as kg/m(2)) ≥25. Prevalence ratios were calculated using log binomial regression. After adjusting for age, education, and leisure time physical activity, men who shared the meal preparation had a slightly lower prevalence of moderate abdominal obesity (prevalence ratio=0.92; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.86 to 0.99) than those whose meals were usually prepared by someone else. There was no association with having sole responsibility (prevalence ratio=0.99; 95% CI: 0.92 to 1.06). There were no associations between level of involvement in meal preparation and being overweight (shared responsibility prevalence ratio=0.99; 95% CI: 0.92 to 1.07; sole responsibility prevalence ratio=0.98; 95% CI: 0.91 to 1.05). For women, level of involvement was not associated with moderate abdominal obesity (shared responsibility prevalence ratio=0.93; 95% CI: 0.84 to 1.03; sole responsibility prevalence ratio=0.94; 95% CI: 0.86 to 1.03) or being overweight (shared responsibility prevalence ratio=0.93; 95% CI: 0.84 to 1.02; sole responsibility prevalence ratio=0.93; 95% CI: 0.85 to 1.02). In this sample of young adults, level of involvement in meal preparation was not strongly related to weight status.

Original publication




Journal article


J Am Diet Assoc

Publication Date





1187 - 1191


Adult, Age Distribution, Australia, Body Mass Index, Confidence Intervals, Cooking, Cross-Sectional Studies, Diet, Diet Surveys, Educational Status, Female, Food Habits, Humans, Leisure Activities, Male, Motivation, Obesity, Abdominal, Odds Ratio, Prevalence, Surveys and Questionnaires