Family meals and diet quality among children and adolescents in North Carolina

J Nutr Educ Behav. 2014 Sep-Oct;46(5):418-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2014.05.004. Epub 2014 Jun 25.


Objective: To examine the relationship between diet quality and frequency of family meals throughout childhood and adolescence.

Methods: Cross-sectional study of children ages birth through 17 years (n = 1,992) using data from the 2010 North Carolina Child Health and Monitoring Program. Multiple logistic regression was used to estimate the associations between family meals and fruit intake, vegetable intake, and sugar-sweetened beverage intake among younger children, older children, and adolescents.

Results: In adjusted analyses, participating in ≥ 5 family meals/wk was associated with less sugar-sweetened beverage intake among younger (OR 2.04; CI 1.06-3.93) and older children (OR 2.12; 95% CI 1.27-3.55), greater vegetable intake among older children (OR 1.87; 95% CI 1.08-3.24) and adolescents (OR 1.81; 95% CI 1.14-2.88), and greater fruit intake among adolescents (OR 2.11; 95% CI 1.40-3.19).

Conclusions and implications: Strategies to encourage families to establish regular family meals early in life and continue them throughout childhood and adolescence is warranted.

Keywords: adolescents; children; diet quality; family meals.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Beverages / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / methods*
  • Diet / standards*
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Meals*
  • North Carolina
  • Vegetables