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July 1 -- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) solicits comments by August 30, 2021 concerning the proposed reinstatement of the Eating and Health Supplement to the American Time Use Survey (ATUS).
 
The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) is the Nation's first federally administered, continuous survey on time use in the United States. It measures, for example, time spent with children, working, sleeping, or doing leisure activities. In the United States, several existing Federal surveys collect income and wage data for individuals and families, and analysts often use such measures of material prosperity as proxies for quality of life. Time-use data substantially augment these quality-of-life measures. The data also can be used in conjunction with wage data to evaluate the contribution of non-market work to national economies. This enables comparisons of production between nations that have different mixes of market and non-market activities.

The ATUS is used to develop nationally representative estimates of how people spend their time. This is done by collecting a time diary about the activities survey respondents did over a 24-hour period “yesterday,” from 4 a.m. on the day before the interview until 4 a.m. on the day of the interview. In the one-time interview, respondents also report who was with them during the activities, where they were, how long each activity lasted, and if they were paid. All of this information has numerous practical applications for sociologists, economists, educators, government policymakers, businesspersons, health researchers, and others. Time use data allows researchers to analyze the choices people make in how they spend their time, along with the time and income constraints they face.

The proposed ATUS Eating and Health Supplement supports the mission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics by providing relevant information on economic and social issues, specifically the association between time-use patterns and eating and physical activity behavior and health. Sponsored by the Economic Research Service (ERS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the supplement will be asked of respondents immediately upon their completion of the ATUS. The data from the Eating and Health Module Supplement closely support the mission of its sponsor, ERS, to improve the nation's nutrition and health.  
 
The supplement surveys individuals aged 15 and up from a nationally representative sample of approximately 2,060 sample households each month. The data from the proposed Eating and Health module supplement can be used for research on the inter-relations of time use patterns and body mass index (BMI), food assistance program participation, grocery and food shopping, and meal preparation. These data enhance the understanding of peoples' overall well-being.

Information collected in the supplement will be published as a public use data set to facilitate research on numerous topics, such as: The association between eating patterns, physical activity, and BMI; time-use patterns of food assistance program participants and low-income nonparticipants; and how time-use varies by health status.

Office of Management and Budget clearance is being sought for the 2022-23 Eating and Health Supplement of questions to follow the ATUS. Fielding the Eating and Health Module Supplement in calendar years 2022-23 will allow researchers to monitor changes in Americans' time use patterns along with changes in Americans' eating activities, BMI values, and food assistance participation. Additionally, the proposed 2022-23 Eating and Health Module includes several important questions that were not included in previous modules. This includes questions about online grocery shopping, quality of diet, and physical exercise. These questions will provide an additional dimension to analyses of the time-use data and BMI, food assistance participation, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and physical exercise.

The ATUS first ran the Eating and Health Supplement in 2006-08 and a modified version in 2014-16. The previous Eating and Health Supplements produced useful data that have been used in a variety of research products that inform policy and programs on eating and other behaviors.

ERS Eating and Health Module webpage: https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/eating-and-health-module-atus/
Draft 2022-23 ATUS Eating and Health Supplement questionnaire and supporting statement:  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/171ej9114qjtjs6/AAAh0oRlTryhdBx6UYO0Gu6ja?dl=0
FR notice inviting public comments to BLS: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/07/01/2021-14106/information-collection-activities-comment-request   Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval of the information collection request; they also will become a matter of public record.
 
Point of contact: Rachel Krantz-Kent, Program Manager, American Time Use Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics krantz-kent.rachel@bls.gov

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