Associations between family dinner frequency and specific food behaviors among grade six, seven, and eight students from Ontario and Nova Scotia

J Adolesc Health. 2009 May;44(5):431-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.10.141. Epub 2009 Jan 9.


Purpose: Family dinner frequency has recently been associated in the literature with improved dietary profiles and healthy body weight in children and adolescents. However, it is not known whether family dinners are associated with other commonly reported food behaviors (fast food and soft drink consumption, breakfast skipping, and dieting) and attitudes (body weight concerns and self-efficacy for healthy eating) among Canadian students in grades 6, 7, and 8.

Methods: A total of 3223 participants from Northern Ontario (Porcupine Region), Southern Ontario (Peel Region, Region of Waterloo, Toronto District), and Nova Scotia completed the Food Behavior Questionnaire during the 2005-2006 academic school year. Ordinal logistic regression analyses were used to determine the associations between family dinner frequency and food behaviors and attitudes.

Results: Higher family dinner frequency was significantly associated with less soft drink consumption, consuming breakfast on the day of the survey, the absence of a high body weight concern, having higher self-efficacy for healthy eating when at home with family, and during social times with friends.

Conclusions: Researchers and clinicians should be aware of these associations when planning family based healthy eating strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Data Collection
  • Family Relations*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Self Efficacy