Family meals. Associations with weight and eating behaviors among mothers and fathers

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83 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1128-1135
Number of pages8
JournalAppetite
Volume58
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2012

Keywords

  • Binge eating
  • Dietary intake
  • Dieting
  • Family meals
  • Parents
  • Weight

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