Say yes to “Sunday Dinner” and no to “Nyam and Scram”: Family mealtimes, nutrition, and emotional health among adolescents and mothers in Jamaica

Cagla Giray, Gail M. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

We explore the quantity (frequency) and quality (priority, atmosphere, structure) of family mealtimes and associations with nutritional and emotional health in Jamaica. Urban adolescents (N = 330, M = 13.8 years, SD = 1.8, 64% girls) and their mothers (M = 41.4 years, SD = 7.8) completed questionnaires. On average, mothers reported having family meals 3–4 times/week and mealtime quality, but not quantity, was associated with health. Correlations revealed that mothers ate more unhealthily if they watched more TV during meals, and actor-partner independence modeling showed that high SES adolescents ate more unhealthily if their mothers had more difficulty finding time for family meals (and vice versa: partner interaction). Additionally, adolescents and mothers were more psychologically distressed if they themselves had more difficulty finding time for family meals, if they had less positive attitudes/behaviors around mealtime atmosphere (actor effects), or if they were high SES individuals placing lower importance on mealtimes (actor interaction). Overall, however many weekly meals Jamaican families are able to share together, what's important is to make those mealtimes count as quality time. Leisurely family meals with enjoyable conversation uninterrupted by television, such as the age-old Jamaican tradition of “Sunday Dinner”, may nourish both body and soul.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalAppetite
Volume128
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Caribbean
  • Family mealtimes
  • Gender
  • Jamaica
  • Nutrition

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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