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Family mealtimes: a systematic umbrella review of characteristics, correlates, outcomes and interventions

Snuggs, S. ORCID: and Harvey, K. ORCID: (2023) Family mealtimes: a systematic umbrella review of characteristics, correlates, outcomes and interventions. Nutrients, 15 (13). 2841. ISSN 2072-6643

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/nu15132841


Systematic reviews have examined the multitude of studies investigating family mealtimes and their importance to child/adolescent health and psychosocial outcomes, but the focus of each is limited to specific aspects of family meals (e.g. frequency) and/or specific outcomes (e.g. nutrition). Their findings require synthesis and so a systematic umbrella review was undertaken. Databases were searched to identify systematic reviews (with or without meta-analysis/meta-synthesis) addressing at least one of the following questions: what are the characteristics and/or correlates of family mealtimes; what outcomes are associated with family mealtimes; are interventions aimed at promoting family mealtimes effective? Forty-one eligible reviews were retrieved. Their findings demonstrate that families with children/adolescents typically eat together at least a few days each week. More frequent family meals are predicted by a more positive mealtime environment, more positive attitudes towards family meals, the presence of younger children, and families having more time. Greater family meal frequency protects children/adolescents against a poorer diet, obesity, risk behaviours, poorer mental health and wellbeing, and poorer academic outcomes. Findings from interventions seeking to promote family mealtimes are mixed. This umbrella review provides a comprehensive and integrated understanding of research into family mealtimes, establishing where evidence is sound and where further research is needed.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Nutrition and Health
ID Code:112318


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