Longitudinal associations between family meal quality and quantity: Does one matter more for child, parent, and family health and well-being or are they synergistic?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

It is unknown how family meal quantity (i.e., frequency) and quality (i.e., meal healthfulness and interpersonal quality) are associated with child, parent, and family health and well-being over time. This study aimed to examine longitudinal associations between family meal quantity and quality and child, parent, and family health and well-being and whether there was a synergistic effect between family meal quantity and quality. Children ages 5-9 and their parents from six racial/ethnic groups participated in this longitudinal cohort study. Regression models adjusted for socio-demographic characteristics examined family meal quantity, interpersonal quality, and nutritional quality at baseline and interactions between quantity and quality, in relation to changes in child, parent, and family health outcomes from baseline to 18-month follow-up. Higher family meal quantity predicted reduced obesity prevalence, improved diet quality and less food fussiness, food responsiveness, and conduct problems among children at follow-up. Higher family meal quality predicted improved diet quality, lower emotional problems, less food responsiveness, and fewer peer relationship problems among children, improved diet quality and reduced psychological distress for parents, and less family chaos at follow-up. One interaction between family meal quantity and quality was found for child peer relationship problems. Overall, family meal quantity and quality were independently important for child health and well-being and for some parent and family health outcomes. Clinicians working with families may want to emphasize the importance of both family meal quantity and quality, as these longitudinal findings suggest potential benefits for the entire family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107080
JournalAppetite
Volume191
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Diet quality
  • Emotional well-being
  • Family meal quality
  • Family meal quantity
  • Obesity

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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