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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    • "Many studies have reported that children and adolescents who eat frequent family meals have more nutritious diets[4,10,11]. Less is known about the correlates of family meals in adults, but some evidence links higher fruit and vegetable consumption to family meal frequency among parents of adolescents[7]and among young adults[24]. We found a stepwise relationship between our aggregate healthy food availability score and increasing family meal frequency. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Family meals are associated with a healthier diet among children and adolescents, but how family meal frequency varies in the U.S. population overall by household food availability and sociodemographic characteristics is not well characterized. Design: The U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2010 assessed the frequency of family meals eaten at home in the past week and the household availability of fruits, dark green vegetables, salty snacks, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Setting: Computer-assisted face-to-face interviews with a selected adult (≥18 years) who owned or rented the home (i.e., the household reference person). Subjects: We analyzed information on family meal frequency for 18,031 participants living in multi-person households in relation to sociodemographic characteristics and food availability. Results: Among the U.S. population living in households of two or more individuals, the prevalence (95% confidence interval) of having 0-2, 3-6 and ≥7 family meals/week was 18.0% (16.6-19.3), 32.4% (31.0-33.9), and 49.6% (47.8-51.4), respectively. Greater household availability of fruits and dark green vegetables and less availability of salty snacks and sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with more frequent family meals. Family meals were more prevalent in low-income households and those in which the reference person was ≥65 years, married, or had less than high school education. Conclusions: About half of the US population living in households of 2 or more people shares meals frequently with their family at home. Family meal frequency was positively associated with a healthier pattern of household food availability.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · PLoS ONE
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
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