Ethnic/racial disparities in adolescents' home food environments and linkages to dietary intake and weight status

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Research is needed to confirm that public health recommendations for home/family food environments are equally relevant for diverse populations. This study examined ethnic/racial differences in the home/family environments of adolescents and associations with dietary intake and weight status. The sample included 2374 ethnically/racially diverse adolescents and their parents enrolled in coordinated studies, EAT 2010 (Eating and Activity in Teens) and Project F-EAT (Families and Eating and Activity in Teens), in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area. Adolescents and parents completed surveys and adolescents completed anthropometric measurements in 2009-2010. Nearly all home/family environment variables (n= 7 of 8 examined) were found to vary significantly across the ethnic/racial groups. Several of the home/family food environment variables were significantly associated with one or more adolescent outcome in expected directions. For example, parental modeling of healthy food choices was inversely associated with BMI z-score (p= 0.03) and positively associated with fruit/vegetable consumption (p<. 0.001). Most observed associations were applicable across ethnic/racial groups; however; eight relationships were found to differ by ethnicity/race. For example, parental encouragement for healthy eating was associated with lower intake of sugar-sweetened beverages only among youth representing the White, African American, Asian, and mixed/other ethnic/racial groups and was unrelated to intake among East African, Hispanic, and Native American youth. Food and nutrition professionals along with other providers of health programs and services for adolescents should encourage ethnically/racially diverse parents to follow existing recommendations to promote healthy eating such as modeling nutrient-dense food choices, but also recognize the need for cultural sensitivity in providing such guidance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-46
Number of pages4
JournalEating Behaviors
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Adolescence
  • Dietary intake
  • Disparities
  • Home environment
  • Introduction
  • Weight status


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