Table 1

Design and characteristics of studies reviewed

STUDYN VALUEDATA SOURCE AND SETTINGPARTICIPANT CHARACTERISTICSSTUDY DESIGNOUTCOMES MEASUREDDEFINITION OFFFMPSYCHOSOCIAL MEASURES
Franko et al,15 20082379Girls from California, Cincinnati, and Maryland aged 9 or 10 y at study entry who participated in the NGHSGirls only
Mean age at the start of the study was 9.5 y
Mean age at 10 y was 18.6 y
Longitudinal data collected annually for 10 y as part of the NGHS
Measures administered in alternating years
Participant retention at 10 y was 89%
Family meals data were obtained at 1 y and 3 y and the main outcome measures were obtained at 5 y, 6 y, and 10 y
Disordered eating behaviour, body image concern, and substance use“How often do you eat with your parent(s)?”
FFM not defined
EDI—the drive for thinness, body dissatisfaction, and bulimia subscales
Perceived Stress Scale
Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale III— the cohesion subscale
Coping Strategies Inventory
Various questions to assess FMF and demographic characteristics
White and Halliwell,16 2010550Students (aged 11–16 y) in grades 7, 9, and 10 from comprehensive state schools based in an urban area of the UKEthnically and socioeconomically diverse
Males (n = 274), females (n = 276)
Mean (SD) age was 14.13 (1.09) y
Cross-sectional data collected
Sex, date of birth, height, weight, and parental employment were self-reported by participants
Self-reported questionnaires were used to assess FMF, family connectedness, family mealtime environment, and alcohol and tobacco consumption
Substance use“During the past seven days, how many times did all, or most, of your family living in your house eat a meal together?”
FFM defined as ≥ 5 times per wk
Family Eating Attitudes and Behavior Scale
Various questions to assess demographic characteristics, FMF, familial factors, and alcohol and tobacco consumption
Fulkerson et al,18 200699 462Students in grades 6–12 from public and alternative schools in the US (213 cities, 25 states)Ethnically diverse
Males (n = 49 138), females (n = 49 620)
Cross-sectional data collected during the 1996–1997 school year
Profiles of student life;
Attitudes and Behaviors survey administered in classrooms by participating school districts
Disordered eating behaviour, depressive symptoms or suicidality, self- esteem, academic achievement, substance use, and violent behaviour7 times per wkProfiles of student life; Attitudes and Behaviors survey
Various questions chosen to assess substance use, depressive symptoms, suicidality, violence, academic problems, FMF, and demographic variables
Neumark-Sztainer et al,19 20044746Adolescents from the urban and suburban school districts of Minneapolis who participated in Project EATEthnically diverse
Males and females
Mean (SD) age was 14.9 (1.7) y
Cross-sectional data collected during the 1998–1999 school year
Project EAT survey administered by staff (RR 81.5%); height and weight assessed
Disordered eating behaviour“During the past 7 days, how many times did all, or most, of your family living in your house eat a meal together?”
FFM defined as ≥ 5 meals per wk
Specific questions developed for the Project EAT study were based on adolescent focus group findings, a review of existing instruments, expert revisions, a social-cognitive theoretical framework, and pilot tests
Fisher et al,30 20075511Cohort of children who participated in GUTS across the US
GUTS participants are the children of women taking part in the Nurses’ Health Study II
Males (n = 2228), females (n = 3283)
Age range was 11–18 y
Longitudinal data collected in 1996 and in 1998 and 1999, examining predictors of alcohol initiation and binge drinking
Starting in 1996, GUTS follow-up self-report questionnaires were mailed to participants annually
In 1998 and 1999, the alcohol use section of the questionnaire was expanded and administered to participants (RR 70%)
Substance use“How often do you sit down with other members of your family to eat dinner or supper?”
FFM not defined
Alcohol Expectancy Questionnaire— adolescent version
Harter Self-Perception Profile for Children
Various questions to assess demographic, family, and social context variables, and alcohol use behaviour
Haines et al,32 201013 448Cohort of children who participated in GUTS across the US
Participants in GUTS are the children of women taking part in the Nurses’ Health Study II
Males (n = 5913), females (n = 7535)
Mean (SD) age (Time 1) was 11.9 (1.6) y
Longitudinal data collected in 1996, (Time 1, baseline), 1997 (Time 2), 1998 (Time 3), and 1999 (Time 4)
Self-administered questionnaires were mailed to participants annually
Disordered eating behaviour“How often do you sit down with other members of your family to eat dinner or supper?”
FFM not defined
Youth Risk Behaviour Surveillance Questionnaire
McKnight Risk Factor Survey
Various questions to assess variables such as FMF, parental weight teasing, and importance of thinness to parents
Fulkerson et al,33 2009145At-risk adolescents from urban and suburban alternative high schools in Minneapolis who participated in the COOL pilot studyEthnically diverse
Males (52%), females (61%)
Mean (SD) age was 17.2 (1.2) y
Cross-sectional data collected in 2006 as baseline data for the Team COOL pilot study
Trained research staff administered a psychosocial survey to students during class; height and weight measurements were also recorded
Disordered eating behaviour, depressive symptoms, and substance use“During the past week, how many days did all, or most, of the people you live with eat dinner together?”
FFM defined as 5–7 meals per wk
Specific questions came from previously published surveys
Sen,34 20108984Youth (aged 12–16 y) who participated in the National Longitudinal Survey of YouthNationally representative sample of the US population
Youth aged ≤ 14 y as of December 31, 1996, who were living with at least 1 parent
Sex numbers not specified
Longitudinal data collected from 1997 to 2000Substance use and violent behaviourYouth were asked to report the number of days in a typical week their family ate dinner together
FFM not defined
Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview
Woodruff and Hanning,35 20093223*Students in grades 6–8 from 86 schools across northern and southern Ontario and Nova ScotiaMales (n = 1454), females (n = 1548)Cross-sectional data collected during the 2005–2006 school year
Web-based Food Behaviour Questionnaire was administered (RR varied by region or city and ranged from 34%–98%)
Disordered eating behaviour, body image concern, and self-efficacy“Typically, how many days per week do you eat dinner or supper with at least one parent?”
FFM defined as ≥ 6 d per wk
Food Behaviour Questionnaire
Various questions to assess FMF, body image concern, and self-efficacy
Eisenberg et al,36 20044746Adolescents from the urban and suburban school districts of Minneapolis who participated in Project EATEthnically diverse
Males and females
Mean (SD) age was 14.9 (1.7) y
Cross-sectional data collected during the 1998–1999 school year
Project EAT survey administered by staff during class (RR 81.5%); height and weight assessed
Self-esteem, academic achievement, depressive symptoms or suicidality, and substance use“During the past 7 days, how many times did all, or most, of your family living in your house eat a meal together?”
FFM defined as ≥ 5 meals per wk
Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale
Various questions to assess FMF, family factors, academic performance, depression, suicidality, and sociodemographic factors
Sierra-Baigrie et al,37 2009259Secondary school students aged 12 to 21 y from Avilés, a town in northern SpainMales (58.3%), females (41.7%)
Mean age was 14.72 y
Cross-sectional data were collected in the form of various self-reported questionnaires assessing topics including bulimic symptomatology, psychosocial competencies, emotional and behavioural problems, and family meal patterns
Researchers administered the questionnaires within classrooms to students in groups of 25–30
Disordered eating behaviour“With what frequency do you eat the midday meal at the table with the family members who are at home?”
“With what frequency do you eat the evening meal at the table with the family members who are at home?”
FFM not defined
Bulimic Investigatory Test, Edinburgh
Youth self-report
Various questions to assess FMF and binge-eating episodes
Neumark-Sztainer et al,38 20082516Adolescents from urban and suburban school districts in Minneapolis who participated in Project EAT-I and Project EAT-IIEthnically and socioeconomically diverse
Males (n = 1130), females (n = 1386)
Mean (SD) age of middle school participants: Time 1 was 12.8 (0.8) y; Time 2 was 17.2 (0.6) y
Mean (SD) age of high school participants: Time 1 was 15.8 (0.8) y; and Time 2 was 20.4 (0.8) y
Longitudinal data collected during the 1998–1999 school year (Time 1) and again in 2003–2004 (Time 2)
Time 1: Project EAT-I survey administered by staff (RR 81.5%)
Time 2: Project EAT-II survey distributed via mail and self-administered (RR 68.4%)
Disordered eating behaviour“During the past 7 days, how many times did all or most of your family living in your house eat a meal together?”
FFM defined as ≥ 5 meals wk
Specific questions developed for the Project EAT study were based on adolescent focus group findings, a review of existing instruments, expert revisions, a social-cognitive theoretical framework, and pilot tests
Neumark- Sztainer et al,39 20072516Adolescents from urban and suburban school districts in Minneapolis who participated in Project EAT-I and Project EAT-IIEthnically and socioeconomically diverse
Males (n = 1130), females (n = 1386)
Mean (SD) age of middle school participants: Time 1 was 12.8 (0.8) y; Time 2 was 17.2 (0.6) y
Mean (SD) age of high school participants: Time 1 was 15.8 (0.8) y; Time 2 was 20.4 (0.8) y
Longitudinal data collected during the 1998–1999 school year (Time 1) and again in 2003–2004 (Time 2)
Time 1: Project EAT-I survey administered by staff (RR 81.5%)
Time 2: Project EAT-II survey distributed via mail and self-administered (RR 68.4%)
Disordered eating behaviour“During the past 7 days, how many times did all, or most, of your family living in your house eat a meal together?”
FFM defined as ≥ 5 meals per wk
Specific questions developed for the Project EAT study were based on adolescent focus group findings, a review of existing instruments, expert revisions, a social-cognitive theoretical framework, and pilot tests
Eisenberg et al,40 2008806Adolescents from middle schools (grades 7–8) in Minnesota who participated in Project EAT-I and then in Project EAT-IIEthnically and socioeconomically diverse
Males (n = 366), females (n = 440)
Mean (SD) age at Time 1 was 12.8 (0.8) y; at Time 2 was 17.2 (0.6) y
Longitudinal data collected during the 1998–1999 school year (Time 1) and again in 2003–2004 (Time 2)
Time 1: Project EAT-I survey administered by staff
Time 2: Project EAT-II survey distributed via mail and self-administered (RR 69.5%)
Substance use“During the past 7 days, how many times did all, or most, of your family living in your house eat a meal together?”
FFM defined as ≥ 5 meals wk
Specific questions developed for the Project EAT study were based on adolescent focus group findings, a review of existing instruments, expert revisions, a social-cognitive theoretical framework, and pilot tests
  • COOL—Controlling Overweight and Obesity for Life, EDI—Eating Disorders Inventory, FFM—frequent family meals, FMF—family meal frequency, GUTS—Growing Up Today Study, NGHS—National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study, Project EAT—Project Eating Among Teens, RR—response rate, UK—United Kingdom, US—United States.

  • * Results based on a sample size of N = 3025 owing to participant exclusions.

  • Results are based on a subset of patients who were overweight or who participated in binge eating or extreme weight-control behaviour, which consisted of 577 females and 312 males (total N = 889).