Examining the Relationship Between Family Meal Frequency and Individual Dietary Intake: Does Family Cohesion Play a Role?

Ericka M. Welsh, Simone A. French, Melanie Wall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To confirm previously reported associations between family meal frequency and dietary intake, and to examine family cohesion as a potential mediator of this relationship. Design: Cross-sectional observational study. Data collected at baseline via questionnaire. Setting: Randomized, controlled household weight gain prevention trial. Participants: Participants were 152 adults and 75 adolescents from 90 community households. Variables Measured: Family meal frequency assessed with a single question. Perceived family cohesion measured by the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale-III. Usual intake of targeted food items assessed with modified food frequency questionnaire. Analysis: Hierarchical linear regression with mediation analysis. Statistical significance set at α-level .05. Results: Family meal frequency was associated with intake of fruits and vegetables in adults, and sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages in adolescents. Family meal frequency was positively correlated with perceived family cohesion (r = 0.41, P < .01). Partial mediation by family cohesion was observed for family meal frequency and sweets intake in adolescents. Conclusions and Implications: Results suggest that family cohesion is not a consistent mediator of relationship between family meal frequency and individual dietary intake. Future studies should assess additional plausible mediators of this relationship in order to better understand the effect of family meals on dietary intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-235
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011

Keywords

  • Diet
  • Family cohesion
  • Family meals
  • Mediation analysis

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