Influence of family meals on obesity and dietary behaviors among adolescents in India

Mamata Raj, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The study objectives were to (i) Describe the frequency and priority of family meals, (ii) Compare the family mealtime environment by gender and SES, (iii) Examine the association between family meals and weight status among adolescents living in New Delhi, India, (iv) Examine the association between family meals and eating patterns (healthy/unhealthy) among adolescent boys and girls living in New Delhi, India. Survey and anthropometric data were collected from 8th and 10th grade students (n=1818) from four Government (public) schools and four private schools who participated in the HRIDAY study. Chi-square tests were used to evaluate if the distributions of outcomes and exposure varied by gender and SES groups. Logistic regression models were used to obtain the association of weight status (underweight / normal weight Vs overweight / obese) with frequency of family meals as the main exposure. Overall the prevalence of obesity was more among the mid- high SES group and in boys. Over half of the participants had 7 or more family meals in the past week. There was no statistically significant association seen between family meals and weight status. Majority of the participants believed that eating healthy food and maintaining a healthy weight was important and eating at least one family meal was important. Majority of the participants who ate more than 3 or more family meals eat healthy food and also ate fast food. Intervention strategies should focus on the high risk group. Private schools are appropriate settings for interventions. Eating with families should be encouraged and future research should examine family meal patterns.

Subject Area

Asian Studies|Public health|Developmental psychology|South Asian Studies

Recommended Citation

Raj, Mamata, "Influence of family meals on obesity and dietary behaviors among adolescents in India" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1497544.