Associations between perceived family meal environment and parent intake of fruit, vegetables, and fat

Kerri N. Boutelle, Amanda S. Birnbaum, Leslie A. Lytle, David M. Murray, Mary Story

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe the family mealtime environment and assess associations with adult fruit, vegetable, and fat intake. Design: Telephone survey. Participants: A convenience sample of 277 adults in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area were recruited through 4 schools. The sample was 85% female and 70% married. The mean number of children in the household was 2.6 (range 1 to 9). Variables Measured: Adult fruit and vegetable intake, fat intake, and perceptions of the mealtime environment. Analysis: Descriptive and mixed-model linear regression. Results: Participants reported that the television was frequently on during dinner meals and almost one third felt that their family was too busy to eat dinner together. A higher frequency of television viewing during dinner was associated with lower fruit and vegetable consumption and higher fat consumption. Planning meals in advance was associated with higher fruit and vegetable consumption; however, 46% of the adults did not plan meals in advance. Arguments concerning eating behavior during dinner were associated with higher fat consumption. Conclusion and Implications: The family meal environment is associated with adult eating patterns and should be considered when designing nutrition messages for families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-29
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003


  • Eating behavior
  • Environment
  • Families
  • Mealtime


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