Consumption of ready-made meals and increased risk of obesity: findings from the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Luxembourg (ORISCAV-LUX) study.
The consumption of ready-made meals, such as pre-packaged dishes, available at grocery stores and fast-food restaurants, is a habit related to our modern fast-paced lives. No study has examined the association of daily ready-made meal consumption with diet quality or health-related outcomes. The present study aimed to investigate the association between self-reported ready-made meal consumption and diet quality, as measured by compliance with dietary recommendations and with a set of adiposity measures, in a nationally representative sample of 1352 subjects, aged 18-69 years, participating in the nationwide population-based ORISCAV-LUX (Observation of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Luxembourg) survey. The daily consumption of ready-made meals was calculated as follows: frequency of consumption x portion size x number of portions consumed. The sum of the daily consumption values of the eleven pre-packaged dishes included in the FFQ represented the total daily consumption of ready-made meals (g/d) for each participant. About 97% of the participants reported daily consumption of ready-made meals. The intake was highly prevalent in men living alone and varied according to education level. Ready-made meal consumption provided >7% of total daily energy. The fractions (%) of macro- and micronutrients derived from daily consumption of ready-made meals varied from 10% for total cholesterol to 0.65% for total fibre. Increased consumption of ready-made meals was found to be independently associated with abdominal obesity. On controlling for age, sex, socio-economic status and lifestyle factors, daily consumption of ready-made meals was found to be associated with higher energy intake and with poor compliance with national nutritional recommendations, and hence it could plausibly increase the risk of central obesity and fat deposition.