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Feasibility of a Family Meal Intervention to Address Nutrition, Emotional Wellbeing, and Food Insecurity of Families With Adolescents

Utter, Jennifer, Denny, Simon, Farrant, Bridget, Cribb, Steve
Journal of nutrition education and behavior 2019 v.51 no.7 pp. 885-892
adolescent nutrition, adolescents, caregivers, food security, ingredients, meals (menu), recipes, surveys, vegetable consumption, youth
To assess the feasibility of a family meal intervention to address indicators of parent and adolescent nutrition and well-being and household food security.Nine adolescents and a parent/caregiver were recruited from a youth health clinic. Families were provided with meal plans, recipes, and ingredients for 5 meals weekly for 4 weeks. Participants completed baseline and follow-up surveys and open-ended interviews.Overall, fidelity to the intervention was high among families; the frequency of family meals increased by approximately 2 meals/wk. Both parent/caregivers and adolescents reported improvements to nutrition (4 of 9 increased vegetable consumption for both) and most reported improvements to mental well-being. Household food insecurity also reduced during the intervention (means of 8.2 and 0.2 at baseline and follow-up, respectively).Providing families with meal plans, recipes, and ingredients is an acceptable way to increase weekly frequency of family meals. Future research may consider the family meal as a way to engage with families about broader concerns.