Ecological Momentary Assessment of the Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Family Meal Environment in Racially/Ethnically Diverse and Immigrant Households

Jerica M Berge, Maureen Beebe, Mireya Carmen Martinez Smith, Allan Tate, Amanda Trofholz, Katie Loth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To describe meal characteristics across breakfast, lunch, and dinner family meals in racially/ethnically diverse and immigrant/refugee households via ecological momentary assessment; identify real-time meal characteristics associated with family meal frequency; and identify qualitative themes regarding parents' perspectives about meal characteristics and meal types that influence family meal frequency.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

SETTING: In-home visits.

PARTICIPANTS: Children aged 5-7 years (n = 150) and their families from diverse and low-income households.


ANALYSIS: Multiple linear regression and hybrid deductive and inductive content analysis.

RESULTS: Quantitative results indicated several similar meal characteristics occurring across weekdays and weekend days and by meal type (eg, parent prepared the meal, food mostly homemade, meal eaten at table) and some significant negative associations (P < .05) between meal characteristics and family meal frequency (eg, fast food for family meals). Eight main qualitative themes with several subthemes supported and expanded the quantitative findings and added depth to interpretation of the findings.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Results identified specific meal characteristics both quantitatively and qualitatively that may inform the development of interventions to increase the frequency of family meals so that more families can benefit from the protective nature of family meals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)658-676
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research is supported by grant number R01HL126171 and R03HD084897 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (Principal Investigator: J.M.B.). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute or the National Institutes of Health. The Family Matters study is a team effort and could not have been accomplished without thededicated staff who carried out thehome visits, including Awo Ahmed, Nimo Ahmed, Rodolfo Batres, Carlos Chavez, Mia Donley, Michelle Draxten, Carrie Hanson-Bradley, Sulekha Ibrahim, Walter Novillo, Alejandra Ochoa, Luis “Marty” Ortega, Anna Schulte, Hiba Sharif, Mai See Thao, Rebecca Tran, Bai Vue, and Serena Xiong.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior


  • Ecological Momentary Assessment
  • family meals
  • mixed methods
  • parenting practices
  • qualitative

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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