Objective: The purpose of the present study was to examine the prevalence of fast-food purchases for family meals and the associations with sociodemographic variables, dietary intake, home food environment, and weight status in adolescents and their parents.
Design: This study is a cross-sectional evaluation of parent interviews and adolescent surveys from Project EAT (Eating Among Teens).
Subjects: Subjects included 902 middle-school and high-school adolescents (53% female, 47% male) and their parents (89% female, 11% male). The adolescent population was ethnically diverse: 29% white, 24% black, 21% Asian American, 14% Hispanic and 12% other.
Results: Results showed that parents who reported purchasing fast food for family meals at least 3 times per week were significantly more likely than parents who reported purchasing fewer fast-food family meals to report the availability of soda pop and chips in the home. Adolescents in homes with fewer than 3 fast-food family meals per week were significantly more likely than adolescents in homes with more fast-food family meals to report having vegetables and milk served with meals at home. Fast-food purchases for family meals were positively associated with the intake of fast foods and salty snack foods for both parents and adolescents; and weight status among parents. Fast-food purchases for family meals were negatively associated with parental vegetable intake.
Conclusions: Fast-food purchases may be helpful for busy families, but families need to be educated on the effects of fast food for family meals and how to choose healthier, convenient family meals.