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Family meals have been negatively associated with overweight in children, while television (TV) viewing during meals has been associated with a poorer diet. The aim of the present study was to assess the association of eating family breakfast and dinner, and having a TV on during dinner, with overweight in nine European countries and whether these associations differed between Northern and Southern & Eastern Europe.
Cross-sectional data. Schoolchildren reported family meals and TV viewing. BMI was based on parental reports on height and weight of their children. Cut-off points for overweight by the International Obesity Task Force were used. Logistic regressions were performed adjusted by age, gender and parental education.
Schools in Northern European (Sweden, the Netherlands, Iceland, Germany and Finland) and Southern & Eastern European (Portugal, Greece, Bulgaria and Slovenia) countries, participating in the PRO GREENS project.
Children aged 10–12 years in (n 6316).
In the sample, 21 % of the children were overweight, from 35 % in Greece to 10 % in the Netherlands. Only a few associations were found between family meals and TV viewing during dinner with overweight in the nine countries. Northern European children, compared with other regions, were significantly more likely to be overweight if they had fewer family breakfasts and more often viewed TV during dinner.
The associations between family meals and TV viewing during dinner with overweight were few and showed significance only in Northern Europe. Differences in foods consumed during family meals and in health-related lifestyles between Northern and Southern & Eastern Europe may explain these discrepancies.
To examine which factors act as mediators between parental educational level and children's fruit and vegetable (F&V) intake in ten European countries.
Cross-sectional data were collected in ten European countries participating in the PRO GREENS project (2009). Schoolchildren completed a validated FFQ about their daily F&V intake and filled in a questionnaire about availability of F&V at home, parental facilitation of F&V intake, knowledge of recommendations about F&V intake, self-efficacy to eat F&V and liking for F&V. Parental educational level was determined from a questionnaire given to parents. The associations were examined with multilevel mediation analyses.
Schools in Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden.
Eleven-year-old children (n 8159, response rate 72%) and their parents.
In five of the ten countries, children with higher educated parents were more likely to report eating fruits daily. This association was mainly mediated by knowledge but self-efficacy, liking, availability and facilitation also acted as mediators in some countries. Parents’ education was positively associated with their children's daily vegetable intake in seven countries, with knowledge and availability being the strongest mediators and self-efficacy and liking acting as mediators to some degree.
Parental educational level correlated positively with children's daily F&V intake in most countries and the pattern of mediation varied among the participating countries. Future intervention studies that endeavour to decrease the educational-level differences in F&V intake should take into account country-specific features in the relevant determinants of F&V intake.
To determine whether an association exists between different clusters of fruit- and vegetable-specific family-environmental factors and children's daily fruit and vegetable intake, and whether these associations differ between countries with different school lunch policies.
Cross-sectional data from four European countries participating in the Pro Greens project in 2009. These countries have different school food policies: two serve free school lunches and two do not. Self-administered data were used. Food frequency questions served to assess fruit and vegetable intakes. The study assessed sixteen children-perceived family-environmental factors, which were clustered based on principal component analysis into five sum variables: fruit and vegetable encouragement; vegetable modelling, family routine and demand; fruit modelling; fruit and vegetable snacking practices; and fruit and vegetable allowing.
Schools in Finland, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands.
Schoolchildren aged 11 years (n 3317).
Multilevel logistic regression analyses revealed positive associations between nearly all clustered family-environmental factors and daily fruit and vegetable intake. The study tested a moderation effect between family-environmental factors and school lunch policy. In five out of twenty models significant interactions occurred. In the stratified analyses, most of the associations between family-environmental factors and raw and cooked vegetable intake were stronger in Germany and the Netherlands, neither of which provided free school lunches.
Children reporting more fruit- and vegetable-promoting family-environmental factors had a more frequent intake of fruits and vegetables; the associations were stronger for vegetable intakes in countries providing no free school lunches, suggesting that parental involvement is crucial when schools offer no vegetables.
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