Cooking at home linked to healthier diets: study

Baltimore – People who frequently prepare meals at home tend to eat healthier and consume fewer calories, according to a study from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Researchers examined data from the 2007-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on more than 9,000 adults age 20 or older. They found that those who cooked only one dinner a week consumed an average of 137 more calories, 3 more grams of fat and 16 more grams of sugar than people who cooked dinner six to seven times a week.

The data showed that people who cook more often use less frozen food and are less likely to order fast food. Researchers also found that people who cooked six to seven nights a week consumed fewer calories when they dined out.

“Obesity is an escalating public health problem that contributes to other serious health issues, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease,” Julia A. Wolfson, lead author of the study, said in a press release. “Moving forward, it’s important to educate the public about the benefits of cooking at home, identify strategies that encourage and enable more cooking at home, and help everyone, regardless of how much they cook, make healthier choices when eating out.”

The study was published Nov. 17 in Public Health Nutrition.