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Family Meal Frequency, Diet, and Family Functioning: A Systematic Review With Meta-analyses

Published:January 23, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2019.12.012

      Abstract

      Objective

      To examine the direction and magnitude of the relation between family meal frequency and dietary and family functioning outcomes in children (aged 2–18 years).

      Design

      Systematic literature review with meta-analysis.

      Methods

      Independent electronic searches, 1 for each outcome of interest, were conducted across 5 databases: PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Web of Science, Scopus, and PsycINFO. Studies were included if they were peer-reviewed and published in English in the US through December 2018.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Diet and family functioning.

      Results

      Dietary outcomes showed some evidence of a positive association between family meal frequency and fruits, vegetables, fruits and vegetables, sugar-sweetened beverages, and the Healthy Eating Index. There was less clear evidence of this relation in snacks, fast food, and desserts. A positive association was found between family meal frequency or dinner family meal frequency and family functioning outcomes. All studies included had cross-sectional and longitudinal study designs.

      Conclusions and Implications

      There is some evidence to show a positive relation between family meal frequency and dietary outcomes. There is stronger evidence for the relation with family functioning outcomes. Most articles included in the systematic reviews were excluded from meta-analysis owing to inadequate data and high methodological diversity across exposure and outcome variables.

      Key Words

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