Perspectives about Family Meals from Racially/Ethnically and Socioeconomically Diverse Households with and Without an Overweight/Obese Child

Jerica M Berge, Carrie Hanson, Michelle Draxten

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Several quantitative studies have found a protective association between family meal frequency and child and adolescent weight and weight-related behaviors (e.g., healthy dietary intake, less disordered eating behaviors). However, limited qualitative research has been conducted to understand more in depth about family meal-level characteristics (e.g., rules, responsibilities, and interpersonal dynamics) that may be risk or protective factors for child weight and weight-related behaviors. The current study aimed to identify family meal-level characteristics within racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse households that were similar and/or different between households with and without an overweight/obese child. Methods: The current study is a qualitative study including 118 parents of children ages 6-12 who participated in the Family Meals, LIVE! study. Parents (92% female) were from racially/ethnically (87% minority) and socioeconomically (73% <$35,000 per year) diverse households. Parents were individually interviewed during a home visit. Data were stratified by child weight status (i.e., normal weight vs. overweight/obese) and analyzed using deductive and inductive content analysis. Results: Qualitative results showed some similarities and some differences in family meal-level characteristics by child weight status that may provide insight into past research showing significant associations between family meal frequency and child weight and weight-related behaviors. Similar themes between families with and without an overweight/obese child included: family meals provide more healthful food; rules about manners; meal planning; and involving children in meal preparation. Themes that were different between families with and without an overweight/obese child included: connection and communication; "clean your plate rule"; electronic devices; and child behavior problems. Conclusions: Findings from the current study may be useful for developing interventions for racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse households with and without an overweight/obese child to be delivered through family meals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-376
Number of pages9
JournalChildhood Obesity
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2016

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