Abstract P279: Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Association Between Ready-to-eat and Ready-to-heat Meal Consumption and Obesity
Introduction: Convenience meals that are ready-to-eat (RTE) or ready-to-heat (RTH) are typically considered unhealthy choices because they are often high in saturated fat, sodium, sugar, or processed foods. Frequent RTE and RTH meal consumption is hypothesized to increase obesity risk. This research aimed to examine differences in RTE and RTH meal consumption by race/ethnicity in a large sample of US adults. Furthermore, we aimed to determine if associations between RTE and RTH meal consumption and obesity differ by race/ethnicity.
Hypothesis: Differences in RTE and RTH meal consumption will exist between racial/ethnic groups. RTE and RTH meal consumption will be associated with increased body mass index (BMI) among all racial/ethnic groups.
Methods: Cross-sectional data on 14,307 participants of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) years 2009-2012 were analyzed. Participants were 49.0% Non-Hispanic white, 23.2% Non-Hispanic black, and 27.8% Hispanic or Latino. Self-reported food purchasing behaviors were captured via a questionnaire. Participants were asked to record the total number of RTE meals (i.e. meals prepared away from home at a food retail outlet) they consumed in the past 7 days, and the total number of RTH meals (i.e. frozen meals) they consumed in the past 30 days. Stratified multivariable-adjusted linear regression models were used to examine associations between RTE and RTH meal consumption and BMI by racial/ethnic group. Analyses were adjusted for the NHANES sampling scheme.
Results: Mean BMI was 28.1 (±0.1). About 39% of participants were obese. On average, Non-Hispanic white participants consumed significantly more RTE meals and RTH meals than Non-Hispanic black and Hispanic participants. Hispanic participants, on average, consumed RTE and RTH meals the least. After adjusting for covariates such as age, education level, household size, and participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, increased consumption of RTE meals was significantly associated with increased BMI among Non-Hispanic whites and Non-Hispanic blacks. There was no association between RTE meal consumption and BMI among Hispanics. RTH meal consumption was not associated with BMI among any racial/ethnic group.
Conclusions: Racial/ethnic differences in the association between RTE and RTH meal consumption and obesity were observed. More research is needed to better understand the contribution of food purchasing behaviors to racial disparities in chronic disease.
Author Disclosures: C.R. Singleton: None. A. Odoms-Young: None. L.M. Powell: None.
- © 2017 by American Heart Association, Inc.