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Pediatr Obes. 2016 Jun;11(3):161-5. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12035. Epub 2015 Jun 10.

Do family meals affect childhood overweight or obesity?: nationwide survey 2008-2012.

Lee HJ1,2, Lee SY1,2, Park EC2,3.

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Department of Health Policy and Management, Graduate School of Public Health, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.
Institute of Health Services Research, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.



The prevalence of childhood obesity is increasing worldwide and this trend is no exception for South Korea. A multidisciplinary approach is needed for the prevention and management of childhood obesity. To do so, among many other strategies, managing the family unit can be a very effective strategy.


The purpose of this study was to identify the relationship between frequency of family meals and overweight/obesity in elementary students and to suggest the management and prevention strategies of childhood obesity.


Data from a total of 2904 elementary students were analyzed from the 2008-2012 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between overweight/obesity and family meals.


Of the total 2904 elementary students, 573 (19.4%) were overweight or obese. The odds ratio of overweight or obese students who had family dinner only was 1.21 (95% CI: 0.89-1.64), that of those who had family breakfast only was 3.20 (95% CI: 1.70-6.02), and that of those who had neither family breakfast nor family dinner was 4.17 (95% CI: 1.98-8.78) compared with those who had both family breakfast and family dinner.


The frequency of family meals was strongly an inverse association with childhood overweight or obesity. Therefore, we suggest that the intervention of childhood obesity should include family meals.


Elementary students; family meals; overweight or obesity

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