Are family meal patterns associated with overall diet quality during the transition from early to middle adolescence?
OBJECTIVE: To examine longitudinal associations of participation in regular family meals (>or= 5 meals/week) with eating habits and dietary intake during adolescence. DESIGN: Population-based, longitudinal study (Project EAT: Eating Among Teens). Surveys were completed in Minnesota classrooms at Time 1 (1998-1999) and by mail at Time 2 (2003-2004). SETTING: Baseline surveys were completed in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, schools and by mail at follow-up. PARTICIPANTS: 677 adolescents (303 males and 374 females) who were in middle school at Time 1 (mean age = 12.8 +/- 0.74 years) and high school at Time 2 (mean age = 17.2 +/- 0.59 years). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Dietary intake, frequency of meals, and fast-food intake patterns. ANALYSIS: Generalized linear modeling stratified by gender and adjusted for race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and the Time 1 outcome. RESULTS: Regular family meals were positively associated with Time 2 frequency of breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals for males and breakfast and dinner meals for females. Among males, regular family meals were negatively associated with Time 2 fast-food intake. Regular family meals were also positively associated with Time 2 mean daily intakes of vegetables, calcium-rich food, fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, folate, and vitamins A and B(6) among both genders. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Regular family meals during early adolescence may contribute to the formation of healthful eating habits 5 years later. Parents should be made aware of the importance of shared mealtime experiences.
Burgess-Champoux, TL; Larson, N; Neumark-Sztainer, D; Hannan, PJ; Story, M
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