Longitudinal examination of the family food environment and weight status among children

Authors

  • ABBIE MACFARLANE,

    1. Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • VERITY CLELAND,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia
      Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, 3125, Australia. Fax: 61 3 9244 6017. E-mail: verity.cleland@deakin.edu.au
    Search for more papers by this author
  • DAVID CRAWFORD,

    1. Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • KAREN CAMPBELL,

    1. Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • ANNA TIMPERIO

    1. Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, 3125, Australia. Fax: 61 3 9244 6017. E-mail: verity.cleland@deakin.edu.au

Abstract

Objective. To examine whether aspects of the family food environment were associated with body mass index (BMI) z-score and weight status in children, cross-sectionally and prospectively over 3 years. Methods. Four aspects of the family food environment (breakfast eating patterns, food consumption while watching television, parental provision of energy-dense foods and child consumption of energy-dense food at home and away from home) were assessed with a questionnaire completed by parents of 161 children aged 5–6 years and 132 children aged 10–12 years in Melbourne, Australia in 2002/03. In 2002/03 and 2006, children's BMI z-score and weight status (non-overweight or overweight) was calculated from measured height and weight. Results. At baseline, 19% of younger and 21% of older children were overweight. Three years later, a greater proportion of younger (now aged 8–9 years) compared with older (aged 13–15 years) children were classified as overweight (28% versus 18%). Few of the family food environment variables were associated with children's BMI z-score and weight status cross-sectionally and longitudinally. However, among older children, more frequent dinner consumption while watching television was associated with a higher BMI z-score longitudinally (B=0.3, 95% CI=0.0, 0.6), less frequent breakfast consumption was associated with higher odds of overweight longitudinally (OR=2.2, 95% CI=1.1–4.7), and more frequent fast food consumption at home was associated with higher odds of overweight cross-sectionally (OR=3.1, 95% CI=1.4–7.0). Conclusions. This study found few significant associations between aspects of the family food environment and BMI z-score or weight status in a sample of Australian children.

Ancillary