259729 Racial/ethnic disparities for family meals in a population-based cohort of two-year old children, Oregon, 2006-2008

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Adiba Ali, MS , Department of Public Health & Preventative Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Vancouver, WA
Kenneth D. Rosenberg, MD, MPH , Office of Family Health, Oregon Public Health Division, Portland, OR
Dawn Peters, PhD , Department of Public Health & Preventative Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
Elizabeth Adams, PhD, RD , Oregon Health and Sciences University, Portland, OR
Background. Studies have found family meals to be protective against adverse effects on the child's social and physical development. There is little evidence-based research exploring the demographic characteristics of families eating meals together. This study examines whether maternal race/ethnicity is associated with family meal frequency.

Methods. The Oregon Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) is a population-based survey on experiences before, during and after pregnancy; PRAMS-2 is a follow-back survey conducted when the child reaches 2 years of age. Mothers who reported “always” or “usually” having family meals were compared with those who reported “sometimes” or “never.” Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the association between family meal frequency and race/ethnicity. Responses were analyzed using STATA 11.1.

Results. Of 1875 respondents with live births in 2004-2005, 87.8% responded “always” or “usually” eating meals together. In a multivariate model, race/ethnicity was significantly associated with family meal frequency, after adjusting for income, education, marital status, age, and birth order. Compared to Non-Hispanic (NH) Whites, NH Blacks (adjusted odds ratio (ORa): 0.45; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.26, 0.77), Hispanics (ORa: 0.49; 95% CI: 0.29, 0.83), and NH Asians (ORa: 0.51; 95% CI: 0.31, 0.82) were less likely to report always/usually having family meals.

Conclusions. These results demonstrate racial/ethnic disparities among families reporting eating meals together. Future research on barriers to family meals has potential to elucidate the challenges associated with maintaining the family environment. A better understanding of these barriers can inform family-based interventions and policy to improve early childhood development.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
Assess the association between family meal frequency and maternal race/ethnicity.

Keywords: Child Health Promotion, Family Involvement

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an MPH student at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), with prior experience working in biomedical research. My MPH thesis analysis on Family Meals has been conducted under the guidance of my committee members: Dr. Rosenberg, maternal & child health epidemiologist at Oregon Public Health Division & director of PRAMS; Dr. Peters, OHSU professor of biostatistics; and Dr. Adams, OHSU professor and maternal & child health epidemiologist.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.