Research Article| Volume 50, ISSUE 2, P141-147.e1, February 2018

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The Transmission of Family Food and Mealtime Practices From Adolescence to Adulthood: Longitudinal Findings From Project EAT-IV

Published:October 17, 2017DOI:



      To determine whether family food and mealtime practices experienced in adolescence are carried forward into parenthood.


      Baseline (Project Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults [EAT]-I) and 15-year follow-up (EAT-IV) survey data from a population-based cohort study (Project EAT).


      Cohort members identified as parents at follow-up (n = 727). To gain additional data about the practices of both parents in the household, significant others completed surveys at EAT-IV (n = 380).

      Main Outcome Measure

      Frequency of family meals, healthfulness of foods at home, frequency of meals in front of the television, and expectations of being home for dinner.


      Linear regression models tested associations between parent food and mealtime practices reported at baseline and follow-up controlling for demographics.


      Healthy and unhealthy home food availability, expectations to be home for dinner, and eating in front of the television in adolescence predicted similar outcomes 15 years later among female parents (effect sizes range: β = .2–.3; P < .001), and to a lesser extent among males. Families ate more frequent family meals when either 1 or both parents reported frequent family meals as an adolescent compared with when neither parent reported frequent family meals as an adolescent.

      Conclusions and Implications

      It is important to invest in parenting interventions that target healthful family food and mealtime practices because of the potential long-term impact on their own children's parenting practices.

      Key Words

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