Zambrano, Carolyn (2014). Family meals, nutrition, and obesity: A generational comparison among Mexican-American adolescents and young adults. 2014 Add Health Users Conference.
Norms about food and meals can vary widely between families, communities, and countries. Family meals provide a venue to reinforce family values, create shared meanings, and provide an opportunity for parents to model good nutritional behavior (Neumark-Sztainer 2006). Research suggests that adolescents who share meals with their families are more likely to have nutritious diets (Hamilton and Wilson 2009), and the presence of a parent during the evening meal lowered the odds for the poor consumption of fruits and vegetables (Videon and Manning 2003). For Mexican-Americans, there is a protective effect in regards to nutrition for those who are less acculturated; they are more likely to consume a higher amount of fruits and vegetables (Neuhouser et al. 2004). Using Waves II and IV of Add Health, I will compare the number of family meals consumed per week for first, second, and third generation-plus Mexican-American adolescents. I predict that first and second generation Mexican-American adolescents will eat more family meals than third generation-plus Mexican-American adolescents. Furthermore, I predict that first and second generation Mexican-American adolescents will also be more likely to consume the recommended daily amounts of fruits and vegetables. Lastly, I expect to find that consuming the daily-recommended amount of fruits and vegetables at Wave II will be associated with lower rates of obesity (measured by using BMI and waist-to-height ratio) in adulthood (at Wave IV).
2014 Add Health Users Conference
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