Focus groups with working parents of school-aged children: What's needed to improve family meals?

Jayne A. Fulkerson, Martha Y. Kubik, Sarah Rydell, Kerri N. Boutelle, Ann Garwick, Mary Story, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Bonnie Dudovitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

87 Scopus citations


Objective: To conduct focus groups to identify parents' perceptions of barriers to family meals and elucidate ideas to guide the development of interventions to overcome barriers. Methods: Focus groups were conducted with a convenience sample of 27 working parents in urban community settings. Results: Parents reported enjoying the sharing/bonding at meals, but they reported limited time for meal preparation and frequent multi-tasking at mealtime. They wanted their children's help with meal preparation, but they were concerned about the time and " mess" involved. They were frustrated with the limited range of food items their children would eat. Preferred program ideas included feeding tips/recipes, meal planning/preparation, and changing food offerings. Conclusions and Implications: Findings indicate a need for creative programs and professional nutrition guidance to facilitate family engagement in planning and cooking quick, healthful meals; development of skill building; and increasing healthful food consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-193
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2011



  • Family meals
  • Focus groups
  • Meal preparation
  • Parents

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