Objective: To characterize associations between perceived time constraints for healthy eating and work, school, and family responsibilities among young adults. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: A large, Midwestern metropolitan region. Participants: A diverse sample of community college (n = 598) and public university (n = 603) students. Main Outcome Measures: Time constraints in general, as well as those specific to meal preparation/structure, and perceptions of a healthy life balance. Analysis: Chi-square tests and multivariate logistic regression (α = .005). Results: Women, 4-year students, and students with lower socioeconomic status perceived more time constraints (P < .001-.002); students with lower socioeconomic status were less likely to have a healthy balance (P ≤ .003). Having a heavy course load and working longer hours were important predictors of time constraints among men (P < .001-.004), whereas living situation and being in a relationship were more important among women (P = .002-.003). Conclusions and Implications: Most young adults perceive time constraints on healthy dietary behaviors, yet some young adults appear able to maintain a healthy life balance despite multiple time demands. Interventions focused on improved time management strategies and nutrition-related messaging to achieve healthy diets on a low time budget may be more successful if tailored to the factors that contribute to time constraints separately among men and women.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI Grant 1 U54CA116849 , PI: R. Jeffery; K07CA126837 , PI: M. Laska) and the American Heart Association (Midwest Affiliate Office, Grant 2261399 , PI: M. Laska). The content of this manuscript is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Cancer Institute or the American Heart Association.
- Dietary behaviors
- Socioeconomic status
- Time constraints
- Young adult