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J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Dec;111(12):1892-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2011.09.035.

Away-from-home family dinner sources and associations with weight status, body composition, and related biomarkers of chronic disease among adolescents and their parents.

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  • 1School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Am Diet Assoc. 2012 May;112(5):762.


Information regarding associations between types of away-from-home family meal sources and obesity and other chronic diseases could help guide dietetics practitioners. The present study describes the purchase frequency of away-from-home food sources for family dinner (fast food, other restaurant purchases, home delivery, and takeout foods) and associations with weight status and percent body fat among adolescents (n=723) and parents (n=723) and related biomarkers of chronic disease among adolescents (n=367). A cross-sectional study design was used with baseline parent surveys and anthropometry/fasting blood samples from two community-based obesity studies (2006-2008) in Minnesota. Logistic regression and general linear modeling assessed associations between frequency of family dinner sources (weekly vs none in past week) and outcomes (parent and adolescent overweight/obesity and percent body fat; adolescent metabolic risk cluster z score, cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, triglycerides, fasting glucose, insulin, and systolic blood pressure. Models accounted for clustering and adjusted for study allocation, baseline meal frequency, and demographic characteristics. The odds of overweight/obesity were considerably greater when families reported at least one away-from-home dinner purchase in the past week (odds ratio=1.2 to 2.6). Mean percent body fat, metabolic risk cluster z scores, and insulin levels were significantly greater with weekly purchases of family dinner from fast-food restaurants (P<0.05). Mean percent body fat, metabolic risk cluster z scores, and high-density lipoprotein levels were significantly higher for families who purchased weekly family dinner from takeout sources (P<0.05). Although frequent family dinners may be beneficial for adolescents, the source of dinners is likely as important in maintaining a healthy weight. Interventions should focus on encouragement of healthful family meals.

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