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Looking for Commensality: On Culture, Health, Heritage, and the Mediterranean Diet

Assessing Commensality in Research

School of Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Meal Science, Örebro University, 712 02 Grythyttan, Sweden
Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Studies, Uppsala University, 751 22 Uppsala, Sweden
School of Health Sciences, Örebro University, 702 81 Örebro, Sweden
Department of Public Health and Sports Science, University of Gävle, 801 76 Gävle, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Rhona Hanning and Daniel J. Graham
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2632;
Received: 13 January 2021 / Revised: 17 February 2021 / Accepted: 2 March 2021 / Published: 5 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection Food, Nutrition and Health with Focus on Eating Together)
This scoping review focuses on the assessment of commensality in research and attempts to identify used methods for performing research on commensality. It reflects a multidisciplinary research field and draws on findings from Web of Science Core Collection, up to April 2019. The empirical material consisted of 61 studies, whereof most were qualitative research, and some were of quantitative character, including very few dietary surveys. The findings show nine papers categorized as using quantitative approaches, 52 papers were categorized as qualitative. The results show a wide variety of different ways to try to find and understand how commensality can be understood and identified. There seems to be a shift in the very concept of commensality as well as some variations around the concept. This paper argues the need to further investigate the importance of commensality for health and wellbeing, as well as the need to gather data on health and health-related behaviors, living conditions and sociodemographic data in parallel. The review shows the broad-ranging areas where commensality is researched, from cultural and historical areas to ethnographic or anthropological areas over to dietary assessment. To complement large dietary surveys with methods of assessing who you are eating with in what environment should be a simple way to further our knowledge on the circumstances of meal intake and the importance of commensality. To add 24-h dietary recall to any study of commensality is another way of identifying the importance of commensality for dietary quality. The use of mixed methods research was encouraged by several authors as a good way forward in the assessment of commensality and its importance. View Full-Text
Keywords: eating together; conviviality; gastronomy; meal; food studies; dining; eating practice; multidisciplinary eating together; conviviality; gastronomy; meal; food studies; dining; eating practice; multidisciplinary
MDPI and ACS Style

Scander, H.; Yngve, A.; Lennernäs Wiklund, M. Assessing Commensality in Research. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 2632.

AMA Style

Scander H, Yngve A, Lennernäs Wiklund M. Assessing Commensality in Research. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(5):2632.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Scander, Henrik, Agneta Yngve, and Maria Lennernäs Wiklund. 2021. "Assessing Commensality in Research" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 5: 2632.

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