The aim of this study was to determine whether an association exists between children's and parental dietary patterns (DP), and whether the number of shared meals or soft drink availability during meals strengthens this association. In 2013/2014 the I.Family study cross-sectionally assessed the dietary intakes of families from eight European countries using 24-h dietary recalls. Usual energy and food intakes from six- to 16-year-old children and their parents were estimated based on the NCI Method. A total of 1662 child-mother and 789 child-father dyads were included; DP were derived using cluster analysis. We investigated the association between children's and parental DP and whether the number of shared meals or soft drink availability moderated this association using mixed effects logistic regression models. Three DP comparable in children and parents were obtained: Sweet & Fat, Refined Cereals, and Animal Products. Children were more likely to be allocated to the Sweet & Fat DP when their fathers were allocated to the Sweet & Fat DP and when they shared at least one meal per day (OR 3.18; 95% CI 1.84; 5.47). Being allocated to the Sweet & Fat DP increased when the mother or the father was allocated to the Sweet & Fat DP and when soft drinks were available (OR 2.78; 95% CI 1.80; 4.28 or OR 4.26; 95% CI 2.16; 8.41, respectively). Availability of soft drinks and negative parental role modeling are important predictors of children's dietary patterns.
Keywords: food consumption; childhood obesity; cluster analysis; family resemblance; shared meals; soft drink.