We examined the frequency of adolescents' use of electronic media (ie, television/movie watching, text messaging, talking on the telephone, listening to music with headphones, and playing with hand-held games) at family meals and examined associations with demographic characteristics, rules about media use, family characteristics, and the types of foods served at meals using an observational, cross-sectional design. Data were drawn from two coordinated, population-based studies of adolescents (Project Eating Among Teens 2010) and their parents (Project Families and Eating Among Teens). Surveys were completed during 2009-2010. Frequent television/movie watching during family meals by youth was reported by 25.5% of parents. Multivariate logistic regression analyses indicated significantly higher odds of mealtime media use (P<0.05) for girls and older teens. In addition, higher odds of mealtime media use (P<0.05) were also seen among those whose parents had low education levels or were black or Asian; having parental rules about media use significantly reduced these odds. Frequent mealtime media use was significantly associated with lower scores on family communication (P<0.05) and scores indicating less importance placed on mealtimes (P<0.001). Furthermore, frequent mealtime media use was associated with lower odds of serving green salad, fruit, vegetables, 100% juice, and milk at meals, whereas higher odds were seen for serving sugar-sweetened beverages (P<0.05). The ubiquitous use of mealtime media by adolescents and differences by sex, race/ethnicity, age, and parental rules suggest that supporting parents in their efforts to initiate and follow-through on setting mealtime media use rules may be an important public health strategy.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
FUNDING/SUPPORT This project was supported by award no. R01HL093247 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . 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.
- Family meals
- Healthful foods