Teens Eat Some Out of House, Home, Data Say

<i> From Reuters</i>

Wonder where your money is going? If you share a household with a teenager, chances are your money is being “consumed” on the average of 4.33 times a day.

A survey of more than 700 teens showed that the typical 12- to 17-year-old eats 4.33 times a day, and close to half (42%) eat more than five times a day.

In the 1998 Teen Eating Study, commissioned by Channel One Network, one-third of all meals are eaten away from home, with teens spending $12.7 billion a year at fast-food restaurants.

Lunch is the meal most likely to be eaten away from home, with 58% buying it at school. Only 28% bring lunch from home.


The after-school snack has become the “fourth meal,” with the typical teen spending $1.25 a day, for a nationwide total of $5.2 billion, to make it from lunch until dinner.

Teens visit fast-food restaurants 2.13 times a week and spend an average of $5.72 per visit, for a nationwide total of $13 billion a year, the study showed. After-school snacks account for about 15% of all trips. Hamburgers are the most popular food (46%), followed by pizza (13%) and Tex-Mex (10%).

Channel One, the news and information cable channel that broadcasts in public, private and parochial schools, asked 1,500 teens to chart all the food they consumed during a two-day period, including weekdays and weekends. Of the participants, 734 responses were complete and valid, made up of 381 boys and 362 girls, ages 12 to 17, with a total of 6,432 eating “occasions.”

Channel One, launched in 1990, is owned by Primedia Inc.