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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Minnesota: Child Participation in Organized Activities Interferes with Family Meals

Parents and children who share regular family meals are known to have better health and diet quality than those who have family members that eat at separate times. However, the schedule of team sports or other enriching organized activities for children can make it difficult for families to eat together.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health studied whether parents think a child’s participation in organized activities interferes with family meals and how these perceptions were related to the household eating environment. Their findings were recently published in the  Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Researchers analyzed Project EAT survey data from 389 parents who had one or more children involved in an organized activity. Approximately 33 percent of households had a child ages 2-5 years and no older child while two-thirds of households had at least one school-aged child (6-18 years).

The study found:

“Our findings indicate a need for additional research addressing how school districts, city-level departments of parks and recreation, and other providers of organized activities can best support families in eating meals together,” said study lead Dr. Nicole Larson, a nutritional epidemiologist and registered dietitian.

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