A review of family meal influence on adolescents' dietary intake

Can J Diet Pract Res. Spring 2008;69(1):14-22. doi: 10.3148/69.1.2008.14.


Recent concerns about adolescent nutrition and unhealthy weights have prompted an examination of the myriad influences on dietary intake during adolescence. Included here are a summary of the literature on family influence on dietary intake, specifically during adolescence and within the family context, a summary of family meal patterns, and a systematic review of the known influences of family meals on dietary intake. Because of the complexity of families in today's society, models were developed to depict the broad context of familial influences on adolescent nutritional behaviours and attitudes and to describe what is known and not known about family meal influences on adolescent dietary intake and quality. A systematic review of the literature revealed seven articles specifically related to adolescents, family meals, and dietary intake, which were analyzed for strength of evidence and plausibility. In spite of data collection methods relying on self-report, results suggested that family meals were associated with improved dietary intakes. Families in today's societies are complex. Nevertheless, parents have the potential to influence positively, through family meals, what food is provided, where it is provided (e.g., home, restaurant), and within what type of atmosphere it is provided.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Adult
  • Diet / psychology*
  • Diet Surveys*
  • Eating
  • Family / psychology*
  • Family Characteristics
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Social Behavior
  • Surveys and Questionnaires