Conflicts of interest: All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Family meals and the well-being of adolescents
Article first published online: 31 OCT 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health © 2013 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians)
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume 49, Issue 11, pages 906–911, November 2013
How to Cite
Utter, J., Denny, S., Robinson, E., Fleming, T., Ameratunga, S. and Grant, S. (2013), Family meals and the well-being of adolescents. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 49: 906–911. doi: 10.1111/jpc.12428
- Issue published online: 20 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 31 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 5 SEP 2013
- Health Research Council of New Zealand. Grant Number: 05/216
- Department of Labour
- Families Commission
- Accident Compensation Corporation of New Zealand
- Sport and Recreation New Zealand
- Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand
- Ministries of Youth Development, Justice and Health
- family meals;
The current study describes the relationships between family meals and family connectedness, parental monitoring and parent–child communication and determines if frequent family meals are associated with better mental well-being and fewer risktaking behaviours among adolescents.
Data were collected as part of Youth'07, a nationally representative survey of the health and well-being of secondary school students in New Zealand (n = 9107).
Frequent family meals were positively associated with better indicators of family relationships (P < 0.001). Likewise, frequent family meals were significantly associated with higher well-being scores (P < 0.001), lower depression scores (P < 0.001) and fewer risk-taking behaviours (P < 0.001), even after controlling for age, sex, ethnicity, deprivation, family connectedness, parental monitoring and parental communication.
Our findings suggest that family meals may provide a unique opportunity for building stronger families and young people. Creating environments where frequent family meals are normative, valued and feasible for families may result in benefits for young people that extend beyond good nutrition.