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Family meals with young children: an online study of family mealtime characteristics, among Australian families with children aged six months to six years

Litterbach, Eloise-kate V., Campbell, Karen J. and Spence, Alison C. 2017, Family meals with young children: an online study of family mealtime characteristics, among Australian families with children aged six months to six years, BMC public health, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 1-9, doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3960-6.

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Title Family meals with young children: an online study of family mealtime characteristics, among Australian families with children aged six months to six years
Author(s) Litterbach, Eloise-kate V.
Campbell, Karen J.ORCID iD for Campbell, Karen J. orcid.org/0000-0002-4499-3396
Spence, Alison C.ORCID iD for Spence, Alison C. orcid.org/0000-0001-9029-1718
Journal name BMC public health
Volume number 17
Issue number 1
Article ID 111
Start page 1
End page 9
Total pages 9
Publisher BioMed Central
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2017-01-24
ISSN 1471-2458
Keyword(s) Australia
family food environment
family meal
mealtime characteristics
socioeconomic
young children
Summary BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that family meals influence food intakes and behaviours, which in turn impact children's eating habits, diets and health. Mealtimes therefore offer potential as settings for health promotion. Given diet, health behaviours and health are often socioeconomically patterned, it is important to consider whether family meals differ by socioeconomic position (SEP). METHODS: The Family Meals with Young Kids study was an online survey completed by parents in 2014. Mealtime characteristics measured included; frequency of shared meals across the day, duration and location of mealtimes, parental modelling, and parental perceived importance of the evening meal. Maternal education was used to assess SEP. The aims of this study were to describe family meal characteristics among Australian families with children aged six months to six years and to describe the socioeconomic patterning of these. RESULTS: Participants (n = 992) were mostly mothers (97%) with a university degree (71%). The evening meal was the most frequently reported meal eaten together with the responding parent and child (77% ≥ five nights/week). Snacks were least commonly eaten together (39% ≥ five days/week). The frequency of having everyone present for the evening meal was inversely associated with SEP (OR 0.70, CI 0.54-0.92). Parent rated importance of family meals was generally high and positively associated with higher SEP (OR 1.32, CI 1.00-1.76). Most children consumed breakfast (73%), lunch (58%) and dinner (82%) sitting at a table or bench and this was positively associated with higher SEP for all meal types (OR 1.61-2.37, p < 0.05). Increased television (TV) viewing during meals was inversely associated with SEP (OR 0.63, CI 0.54-0.72). Less than half of children (36%) watched TV during meals more than once a day. CONCLUSIONS: Australian families engage in many healthy mealtime behaviours. Evidence that parents share meals with children and place high value on mealtimes with children provides important opportunities for promoting healthy behaviours in families. The choice of eating location and the practice of viewing TV during mealtimes are examples of two such opportunities. Socioeconomic patterning of the location of mealtimes and TV viewing during meals may contribute to socioeconomic differences in dietary intakes and may be important targets for future health promotion.
Language eng
DOI 10.1186/s12889-016-3960-6
Field of Research 111199 Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified
1117 Public Health And Health Services
Socio Economic Objective 920411 Nutrition
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2017, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30091958

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.