Residential Cooking Behavior in the United States: Data Collected from a Web-Based Survey
Cooking has a significant impact on indoor air quality. When cooking occurs, how foods are cooked, and the types of food that are cooked have all been shown to impact the rate at which occupants are exposed to pollutants. Home occupancy characteristics impact how concentrations in the home translate into exposures for the occupants. With the intent of expanding our understanding of cooking behavior in the U.S., we developed and advertised an online survey to collect household cooking behavior for the 24 hrs prior to taking the survey. The survey questions were designed to address gaps in knowledge needed to predict the impact of cooking on indoor concentrations of PM2.5 and other pollutants. The survey included the following questions: 1) which meals households ate at home; 2) number of household members at home during cooking; 3) the type of oil used for cooking; 4) the type of foods cooked at each meal; 5) the type of cooking devices used; and 6) the methods selected for food preparation. We also collected information on household characteristics such as their location (zip code), ethnicity, and ages of family members. We analyzed the variability in home cooking characteristics for households in different climate zones and with four different types of family compositions: 1 senior living alone, 1 adult living alone, 2 or more adults/seniors, and families with children. We used simple statistical tests to determine if the probability of certain cooking behaviors differed between these subgroups.