J Nutr Health.  2019 Dec;52(6):618-627. 10.4163/jnh.2019.52.6.618.

Comparison of lunch quality through home meals, institutional meals, and eating-out in Chinese adults: analysis of the data from the 2011 China Health and Nutrition Survey

  • 1Department of Food and Nutrition, Myongji University, Yongin, Gyeonggi 17058, Korea. zeromi@mju.ac.kr


This study evaluated the dietary quality of lunches consumed through home meals, institutional meals, and eating-out at restaurants in Chinese adults.
The total of 3,708 people (aged 20 ~ 64) were selected from the data of the 2011 China Health and Nutrition Survey and divided into three groups: the home (HM, 2,845 people), institutional (IM, 579 people), and eating-out (EO, 284 people) meal groups. Dietary intakes of eight food groups, the frequency of eating certain foods, food group intake pattern, dietary diversity and the variety score of lunches were analyzed.
The meat intake of IM and EO were higher than that of HM (p < 0.05), and the vegetable intake was the highest in HM, followed by IM and EO (p < 0.05). The intake of fruit and milk · dairy products were extremely low in all the groups. Compared with 1/3 daily recommended intake, the meat intake was above the standard in all the groups and the vegetable intake was insufficient only in EO. The most frequently consumed food in all the groups was rice, followed by pork. The relatively desirable food group pattern, "grain + meat + vegetable", was highest in IM (66.0%) and lowest in EO (48.2%). The "grain + vegetable" pattern in HM and the "grain + meat" pattern in EO were relatively higher than that in the other groups. The dietary diversity score (p < 0.001) and dietary variety score (p < 0.001) were significantly higher in IM than that in the HM or EO.
The lunches of Chinese adults had common problems in excess meat intake and a severe lack of fruit and milk · dairy products. Even institutional meals were not ideal as single meals for Chinese adults, although they were better in food diversity. Customized dietary educational programs based on balanced meal plans need to be established, especially for those Chinese people having lunch at home or eating out. In addition, a systematic food service program should be developed and firmly implemented.


China Health and Nutrition Survey; lunch; home meal; institutional meal; eating-out

MeSH Terms

Asian Continental Ancestry Group*
Dairy Products
Food Services
Nutrition Surveys*
Recommended Dietary Allowances
Red Meat


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