Mothers and meals. The effects of mothers' meal planning and shopping motivations on children's participation in family meals. Academic Article uri icon


  • Participation in family meals has been associated with benefits for health and social development of children. The objective of the study was to identify the impact of mothers' work of caring through planning regularly scheduled meals, shopping and cooking, on children's participation in family meals. Parents of children aged 9-11 or 13-15 years from 300 Houston families were surveyed about parents' work, meal planning for and scheduling of meals, motivations for food purchases, importance of family meals, and children's frequency of eating dinner with their families. The children were interviewed about the importance of eating family meals. Hypotheses were tested using path analysis to calculate indirect and total effects of variables on the outcome variable of frequency of children eating dinner with their family. Mothers' belief in the importance of family meals increased likelihood of children eating dinner with families by increasing likelihood that mothers planned dinner and that dinners were regularly scheduled. Mothers' perception of time pressures on meal preparation had a negative, indirect effect on the frequency of children's participation in family dinners by reducing mothers' meal planning.

published proceedings

  • Appetite

altmetric score

  • 1.85

author list (cited authors)

  • McIntosh, W. A., Kubena, K. S., Tolle, G., Dean, W. R., Jan, J., & Anding, J.

citation count

  • 54

complete list of authors

  • McIntosh, William Alex||Kubena, Karen S||Tolle, Glen||Dean, Wesley R||Jan, Jie-sheng||Anding, Jenna

publication date

  • December 2010