Family correlates of fruit and vegetable consumption in children and adolescents: a systematic review

Public Health Nutr. 2009 Feb;12(2):267-83. doi: 10.1017/S1368980008002589. Epub 2008 Jun 18.


Objectives: To review associations between the family environment and young people's fruit and vegetable consumption.

Design: A systematic review. Published English-language (n 60) papers were identified using electronic databases and manual searches of personal files and reference lists. Observational research reporting a measure of fruit/vegetable intake for children (aged 6-11 years) and/or adolescents (aged 12-18 years) and at least one potential family correlate of dietary intake was included.

Results: Parental modelling and parental intake were consistently and positively associated with children's fruit and fruit, juice and vegetable (FJV) consumption. There were also positive associations between home availability, family rules and parental encouragement and children's fruit and vegetable consumption. Parental intake was positively associated with adolescents' fruit and vegetable consumption. There were also positive associations between parental occupational status and adolescent fruit consumption and between parental education and adolescents' FJV consumption.

Conclusions: Our findings highlight the importance of targeting the family environment for the promotion of healthy eating behaviours among children and adolescents. Future interventions should encourage parents to be positive role models by targeting parental intake and to create a supportive home environment through increased encouragement and availability of fruits and vegetables and employing rules to govern eating behaviours. For adolescents, indicators of family circumstances (e.g. parental education) should be used to identify target groups for interventions aimed at promoting healthy eating.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Educational Status
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / psychology
  • Food Supply
  • Fruit*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parents / education
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Vegetables*