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Child Dev. 2011 Jan-Feb;82(1):133-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01545.x.

The ABCs of family mealtimes: observational lessons for promoting healthy outcomes for children with persistent asthma.

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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, The Family Resiliency Center, Urbana, IL 61801-3811, USA.


Family mealtimes have the potential to promote healthy child development. This observational study of 200 family mealtimes examined the relation between child health in a group of children (ages 5 to 12) with persistent asthma and 3 dimensions of mealtime interaction: Action, Behavior Control, and Communication. Percent time spent in Action and Positive Communication varied by asthma severity, child quality of life, and sociodemographic variables. Positive communication during mealtimes predicted child quality of life. Significant interactions between demographic variables and behavior control suggested that higher levels of behavior control affected child quality of life in the context of lower maternal education. Guidance is offered for practitioners and policy makers toward promoting healthy family mealtimes as a public health priority.

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