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To examine relationships between frequency of adolescents eating alone (dependent variable) and diet, weight status and perceived food-related parenting practices (independent variables).
Analyses of publicly available, cross-sectional, web-based survey data from adolescents.
Online consumer opinion panel.
A US nationwide sample of adolescents (12–17 years) completed Family Life, Activity, Sun, Health, and Eating (FLASHE) Study surveys to report demographic and family meal characteristics, weight, dietary intake, home food availability and perceptions of parenting practices. Parents provided information about demographic characteristics. Logistic regression analyses were used to test for associations between variables.
About 20 % of adolescents reported often eating alone (n 343) v. not often eating alone (n 1309). Adjusted odds of adolescents often eating alone were significantly higher for non-Hispanic Black compared with non-Hispanic White adolescents (OR=1·7) and for overweight or obese compared with normal- or underweight adolescents (OR=1·6). Adjusted odds of adolescents eating alone were significantly lower for those who reported that fruits and vegetables were often/always available in the home (OR=0·65), for those who perceived that parents had expectations about fruit and vegetable intake (OR=0·71) and for those who agreed with parental authority to make rules about intake of junk food/sugary drinks (OR=0·71). Junk food and sugary drink daily intake frequency was positively associated with often eating alone.
Often eating alone was related to being overweight/obese, having less healthy dietary intake and perceptions of less supportive food-related parenting practices.
Recent research on access to food among low-income populations in industrialised countries has begun to focus on neighbourhood food availability as a key determinant of dietary behaviour. This study examined the relationship between various measures of food store access and household fruit and vegetable use among participants in the Food Stamp Program, America's largest domestic food assistance programme.
A secondary data analysis was conducted using the 1996–97 National Food Stamp Program Survey. The survey employed a 1-week food inventory method, including two at-home interviews, to determine household food use. Separate linear regression models were developed to analyse fruit and vegetable use. Independent variables included distance to store, travel time to store, ownership of a car and difficulty of supermarket access. All models controlled for a full set of socio-economic variables.
A nationally representative sample of participants (n = 963) in the Food Stamp Program.
After controlling for confounding variables, easy access to supermarket shopping was associated with increased household use of fruits (84 grams per adult equivalent per day; 95% confidence interval 5, 162). Distance from home to food store was inversely associated with fruit use by households. Similar patterns were seen with vegetable use, though associations were not significant.
Environmental factors are importantly related to dietary choice in a nationally representative sample of low-income households, reinforcing the importance of including such factors in interventions that seek to effect dietary improvements.
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