Neumark-Sztainer D. Family meals. Associations with weight and eating behaviors among mothers and fathers

University of Minnesota Medical School, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Phillips Wangensteen Building, 516 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.
Appetite (Impact Factor: 2.69). 03/2012; 58(3):1128-35. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2012.03.008
Source: PubMed


Few studies have looked at the relationship between family meals and adult weight and health behaviors. The current study investigates the association between frequency of family meals and mothers' and fathers' body mass index (BMI), dietary intake, dieting behaviors and binge eating. Data from Project F-EAT (Families and Eating and Activity in Teens) were used for the current analysis. Socio-economically and racially/ethnically diverse mothers and fathers (n=3488) of adolescents participating in a multi-level population-based study (EAT 2010) completed surveys mailed to their homes. Predicted means or probabilities were calculated for each outcome variable at each level of family meal frequency. Interactions between race/ethnicity and marital status with family meals were evaluated in all models. Overall, results indicated that having more frequent family meals was associated with increased consumption of fruits and vegetables for mothers and fathers, after adjusting for age, educational attainment, marital status and race/ethnicity. Other findings including less fast food intake for fathers and fewer dieting and binge eating behaviors for mothers were significantly associated with family meal frequency, but not consistently across all family meal categories or with BMI. Interactions by race/ethnicity and marital status were non-significant, indicating that family meals may be important for more healthful dietary intake across race and marital status. Future research should confirm findings in longitudinal analyses to identify temporality and strength of associations.

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Available from: Katie Loth, Oct 12, 2015
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    • "Caraher and Lang (1999) refer to this as a culinary transition influenced by factors including labour market participation of women and decreased opportunities for cooking and food preparation skill development within home and school environments. A decline in family meals and regular meal structure, along with greater frequency of consuming food outside the home are also contributors (Berge et al., 2012; Lu, Huet, & Dube, 2011). Busy lifestyles and competing demands reduce time available for food preparation, and less transfer of knowledge within the family (Höijer, Hjälmeskog & Fjellström, 2011; Laska et al., 2011; Pelletier & Laska, 2012; Slater, Sevenhuysen, Edginton, & O'Neil, 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to explore young adults' experiences and perceptions of Home Economics food and nutrition (HEFN) education through a self-administered questionnaire to 206 university students who had attended middle and high school in Canada. The focus was on participants' perceptions and experiences of school-based Home Economics food and nutrition education; self-perceived food preparation skills; living and food environment; understanding of the term cooking. Almost all (95.6%) respondents felt Home Economics food and nutrition education belonged in school and had significant potential to reduce risks associated with obesity and diet-related chronic disease. Three quarters of respondents had taken Home Economics food and nutrition courses in middle school but this decreased to 9% by grade 12. Cooking had moralistic connotations and was viewed as what it is (taking time and effort to make wholesome food from basic ingredients) and what it isn't (unhealthy, processed foods requiring little preparation). The positive views of Home Economics food and nutrition education exhibited in this study suggest that it can be an important vehicle for transferring critically important foundational knowledge and skills to youth.
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    • "However, it is unknown whether the effect of family meal frequency on weight and diet is similar among diverse immigrant populations. While little research has focused on factors associated with the frequency of family meals, especially among diverse populations, there are data to suggest the strong role of parental and familial dynamics, as they influence the occurrence and frequency of family meals [22]. Given the critical role parenting style and family dynamics play in determining children’s eating behaviors, habits, and attitudes, as well as the physical and social food environment of the home, it is not surprising that these factors influence the frequency of family meals [23,24]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The protective effect of family meals on unhealthy weight gain and diet has been shown across multiple age groups; however, it is unknown whether a similar effect is present among diverse immigrant populations. In addition, little research has focused on factors associated with the frequency of evening family meals, such as feeding styles (how parents interact with their child around feeding). Therefore the goals of this paper are to explore the 1) association between the frequency of evening family meals and child weight status among new immigrant families, and 2) influence of immigrant mothers’ feeding styles on the frequency of evening family meals. Baseline self-reported socio-demographic information and measured heights and weights were collected for both mother and child (age range: 3–12 years) among 387 mother-child dyads enrolled in Live Well, a community-based, participatory-research, randomized controlled lifestyle intervention to prevent excessive weight gain in recent (<10 years in the U.S.) immigrant mothers and children. For children, height and weight measurements were transformed into BMI z-scores using age-and sex-specific CDC standards and categorized as overweight (85th–94th percentile) and obese (≥95th percentile); mothers’ BMI was calculated. Frequency of evening family meals, eating dinner in front of the TV, acculturation and responses to the Caregiver’s Feeding Styles Questionnaire (CFSQ) were also obtained from the mother. Children were categorized as “eating evening family meals regularly” if they had an evening family meal ≥5 times per week. Overall, 20% of children were overweight and 25% were obese. Less than half (40.9%) of families had regular evening family meals. In multivariate analyses, adjusting for covariates, children who were overweight/obese were significantly less likely to have ≥5 evening family meals/week compared with normal weight children (OR = 0.51, 95% CI 0.32-0.82) . Mothers who had a low demanding/high responsive or a low demanding/low responsive feeding style, were less likely to have ≥5 evening family meals/week compared to mothers with a high demanding/high responsive feeding style (OR = 0.41, 95% CI 0.18-0.0.96, OR = 0.33, 95% CI 0.13-0.87, respectively). Future interventions and programs that seek to help parents establish healthy household routines, such as family meals, may consider tailoring to specific maternal feeding styles.
    International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 06/2013; 10(1):84. DOI:10.1186/1479-5868-10-84 · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    • "Studies have also been conducted on the influence of family mealtimes, and the majority of the research showed positive influences of family mealtimes on children's and adolescents' healthy eating behaviors and healthier food consumption patterns, like consuming more fruits and vegetables and having breakfast regularly (Andaya, Arredondo, Alcaraz, Lindsay, & Elder, 2011; Berge et al., 2012; Burgess-Champoux, Larson, Neumark-Sztainer, Hannan, & Story, 2009; Fruh, Fulkerson, Kendrick, & Clanton, 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Food-related attitudes and habits are integral to overall well-being, especially among international college students who often practice poor eating habits and experience high levels of stress from factors like school and sociocultural adjustment. Utilizing in-depth interviews, this study explored how family experiences impact food-related habits, attitudes, and beliefs of Malaysian college students in the U.S. Findings indicate that early experiences with family substantially impact current habits that persist even after coming to the U.S. and that dietary choices and habits are heavily embedded in cultural background and family history. Family influenced current habits through multiple means, including modeling, direct teaching, and indirectly through various family activities. Even though there were some persistent and lasting eating habits and behaviors, students also experienced some dietary changes and conflicting dietary practices after coming to the U.S. These findings are important for universities to consider so that appropriate steps can be taken to ensure the health and well-being of Malaysian and other international students in the U.S.
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