Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have shown that family meals are associated with childhood healthful eating behaviors, family cohesion, and positive development outcomes for children. However, few studies have examined the family meals in low-income and minority families and no studies have qualitatively examined whether there is a difference in the protective influence of family meals between households with overweight/obese children and households with nonoverweight children. The current study aimed to identify family meal-level characteristics of low-income and minority households and to examine whether those meal-level characteristics differ in households with or without an overweight/obese child. The current qualitative study included 118 parents who participated in Family Meals, LIVE!, a mixed-methods, cross sectional study designed to identify key family home environment factors related to eating behaviors that increase or minimize the risk for childhood obesity. Parents (92% female) were racially/ethnically and from low-income homes. Data were analyzed using inductive content analysis. Results from the current study suggest that parents from African American, White, and mixed race/other homes as well as parent with and without overweight/obese children have many similar (e.g., why parents have family meals, the use of technology during meals) and some different (e.g. what adults like about family meals, mealtime rules, how culture influences meals) perspectives regarding family meals. Findings from this study highlight the need to further explore the subtle differences within and between families of different ethnic groups and families with and without overweight/obese children to discover what nuanced home environmental factors influence childhood health outcomes.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2015. Major: Family Social Science. Advisor: Steven Harris. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 69 pages.
Perspectives about Family Meals from Parents in Low-income and Minority Households.
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