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Family food involvement and frequency of famiy dinner meals among Australian children aged 10-12 years. Cross-sectional and longitudinal associations with dietary patterns

Involvement in meal preparation and eating meals with the family are associated with better dietary patterns in adolescents, however little research has included older children or longitudinal study designs. This 3-year longitudinal study examines cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between family food involvement, family dinner meal frequency and dietary patterns during late childhood. Questionnaires were completed by parents of 188 children from Greater Melbourne, Australia at baseline in 2002 (mean age = 11.25 years) and at follow-up in 2006 (mean age = 14.16 years). Principal components analysis (PCA) was used to identify dietary patterns. Factor analysis (FA) was used to determine the principal factors from six indicators of family food involvement. Multiple linear regression models were used to predict the dietary patterns of children and adolescents at baseline and at follow-up, 3 years later, from baseline indicators of family food involvement and frequency of family dinner meals. PCA revealed two dietary patterns, labeled a healthful pattern and an energy-dense pattern. FA revealed one factor for family food involvement. Cross-sectionally among boys, family food involvement score (β = 0.55, 95% CI: 0.02, 1.07) and eating family dinner meals daily (β = 1.11, 95% CI: 0.27, 1.96) during late childhood were positively associated with the healthful pattern. Eating family dinner meals daily was inversely associated with the energy-dense pattern, cross-sectionally among boys (β = −0.56, 95% CI: −1.06, −0.06). No significant cross-sectional associations were found among girls and no significant longitudinal associations were found for either gender. Involvement in family food and eating dinner with the family during late childhood may have a positive influence on dietary patterns of boys. No evidence was found to suggest the effects on dietary patterns persist into adolescence.







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Elsevier BV


Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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2014, Elsevier