Takeaway/ Delivery Food & Obesity
Consumption of meals bought from out-of-home sources is a suggested risk factor for obesity, but the supporting evidence is limited. Given the recent increasing popularity of takeaway and delivery meals, the evidence of the potential causality becomes important for public health policymakers.
A recent published study evaluated the association between consumption of different types of meals and body mass index (BMI) or percent body fat among 5197 UK residents (2841 women and 2356 men). The study results indicated that participants with higher BMI and percent body fat were more likely to consume takeaway and/or delivery meals. As BMI and percent body fat increased, both men and women were increasingly less likely to report having consumed a home-cooked and prepared meal during the previous 24 hours. Home cooked meals were more often consumed by those with low BMI and percent body fat, whereas delivery and takeaway meals were more often eaten by individuals with higher BMI. The study did not examine the nutritional profile and quality of the home cooked, takeaway, and delivery meals. The results did not suggest that the takeaway or delivery meals are less healthy than home cooked ones. Generally, people who frequently consume home cooked meals are more health conscious than those who don’t do so as frequently, and therefore are more likely to be cautious of their diets.
Singapore has a vibrant local hawker culture and Singapore residents love their hawker food. A significant portion of the Singapore population consume meals prepared by these hawkers on a daily basis. Singapore Health Promotion Board understands the Singapore hawker eating culture and has been encouraging the hawkers to prepare their food in healthier manners, like using less salt or sugar. No matter what has or can be done, it is most important to consume food in moderation.
 Albalawi, Ahmad A, Hambly, Catherine & Speakman, John R. 2022. Consumption of takeaway and delivery meals is associated with increased BMI and percent fat among UK Biobank participants. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 116: 173-188.