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Diet and Health Benefits Associated with In-Home Eating and Sharing Meals at Home: A Systematic Review

1
Perelman School of Medicine and School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
2
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61820, USA
3
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA
4
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
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Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61820, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jeanine M. Buchanich and Vikas Kumar
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1577; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041577
Received: 1 December 2020 / Revised: 19 January 2021 / Accepted: 28 January 2021 / Published: 7 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Health: Feature Review Papers)
In-home and shared meals have been hypothesized to have positive effects. This narrative review examines research on the influence of in-home eating on diet quality, health outcomes, and family relationships. A combination search approach included a search of PubMed, backward searches of previous published reviews, and studies the authors were familiar with. A search identified 118 publications; 54 original studies and 11 review studies were included in this review. Each study was reviewed and summarized. The diverse designs precluded quantitative data synthesis. Relatively strong evidence from cross-sectional research supports the association of shared family meals with favorable dietary patterns in children and adolescents, including consumption of fruits, vegetables, and healthful nutrients. Correlational evidence links shared meals with health and psychosocial outcomes in youth, including less obesity, decreased risk for eating disorders, and academic achievement. Most evidence is cross-sectional, thus, limiting attribution of causality. There is insufficient evidence to conclude that interventions improve the frequency of shared meals, improve diet, or prevent child obesity. Despite the “common wisdom”, the evidence that in-home, shared meals, per se, have positive effects on diet quality, health outcomes, psychosocial outcomes, and family relationships is limited due to weak research designs and single-item measurement of the independent variable. More research, with stronger designs, is warranted. View Full-Text
Keywords: in-home eating; shared meals; healthy diets; family mealtimes; home meals in-home eating; shared meals; healthy diets; family mealtimes; home meals
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MDPI and ACS Style

Glanz, K.; Metcalfe, J.J.; Folta, S.C.; Brown, A.; Fiese, B. Diet and Health Benefits Associated with In-Home Eating and Sharing Meals at Home: A Systematic Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 1577. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041577

AMA Style

Glanz K, Metcalfe JJ, Folta SC, Brown A, Fiese B. Diet and Health Benefits Associated with In-Home Eating and Sharing Meals at Home: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(4):1577. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041577

Chicago/Turabian Style

Glanz, Karen, Jessica J. Metcalfe, Sara C. Folta, Alison Brown, and Barbara Fiese. 2021. "Diet and Health Benefits Associated with In-Home Eating and Sharing Meals at Home: A Systematic Review" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 4: 1577. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041577

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