Background: Research has demonstrated dietary quality benefits of family meals and meals prepared at home. Less is known about associations between the proportion of family evening meals made at home and key personal, behavioral, and environmental characteristics. Moreover, most studies often measure these data retrospectively. Objective: The objective of this study is to describe the proportion of evening meals made at home measured in real time and to assess associations between personal, behavioral, and environmental characteristics that are associated with a higher proportion of evening meals prepared and consumed at home. Design: This study is a cross-sectional secondary analysis of baseline data collected during 2017 and 2018 from the New Ulm at Home study, a randomized controlled trial conducted in rural Minnesota to evaluate the effectiveness of a childhood obesity prevention program for school-aged children. Participants/setting: The present study analyzes a subset of the New Ulm at Home trial data from families (N = 108) who completed at least four evening meal screeners collected in real time with ecological momentary assessment technology over a 2-week period. Main outcome measure: The main outcome measure was the proportion of family evening meals made at home, calculated using two cutpoints (≤50% of evening meals prepared at home vs >50%; ≤70% vs >70%). Statistical analysis: Descriptive statistics were used to describe the proportion of evening meals prepared at home. Logistic regression analyses adjusted for parent education were used to assess associations between family characteristics and the two different proportions of meals made at home. Results: Most family evening meals were prepared and eaten at home (62%). Logistic regression models indicated meal planning skills (odds ratio=1.19, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.39) and mealtime routines (odds ratio=1.20, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.40) were significantly associated with odds of preparing more than 50% of evening meals at home. Only meal planning skills (odds ratio=1.27, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.51) was significantly associated with odds of preparing more than 70% of evening meals at home. Conclusions: Study findings indicated mealtime routines and meal planning skills were associated with preparing more than 50% of evening meals at home, but only meal planning skills were associated with preparing more than 70% of evening meals at home, which may suggest the importance of adapting interventions for families. Future research should build on these findings in randomized controlled trials.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
FUNDING/SUPPORT This study was supported by grant R01 HL123699 (J. Fulkerson, PI) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute / National Institutes of Health . 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 of the National Institutes of Health . This study used REDCap for data collection, which was supported by a Clinical and Translations Science Institute grant (UL1TR002494) from the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translations Sciences.
© 2022 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- Ecological momentary assessments
- Meal planning
- Meals prepared at home
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural