Department of Management

Food culture in the home environment: Family meal practices and values can support healthy eating and self-regulation in young people in four European countries

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • John B. F. De Wit, University of New South Wales
  • ,
  • Marijn Stok, Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • Derek J. Smolenski, Tacoma, WA, USA, United States
  • Denise T. D. de Ridder, Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • Emely de Vet, Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • Tania Gaspar de Matos, Technical University of Lisboa, Portugal
  • Fiona Johnson, University College London, United Kingdom
  • Liliya Nureeva, Denmark
  • Aleksandra Luszczynska, University of Colorado, United States
Overweight epidemics, including among children and adolescents, are fuelled by contemporary obesogenic environments. Recent research and theory highlight the importance of socio-cultural factors in mitigating adverse impacts of the abundance of food in high-income countries. The current study examines whether family meal culture shapes young people's eating behaviors and self-regulation.
Young people aged 10-17 years were recruited through schools in four European countries: the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom. A total of 2,764 participants (mean age 13.2 years; 49.1% girls) completed a self-report questionnaire in class, providing information on healthy and unhealthy eating, joint family meals and communal meal values and use of eating-related self-regulation strategies.
Path analysis found that family meal culture variables were significantly associated with young people's eating behaviors, as was self-regulation. Significant indirect effects of family meal culture were also found, through self-regulation.
Results confirm that family meal culture, encompassing values as well as practices, shapes young people's eating behaviors. Findings extend and link previously separate lines of enquiry by showing how food cultures can play out in the home environment. Importantly, the study contributes novel evidence suggesting that self-regulation is shaped by the home environment and mediates its influence.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Psychology: Health and Well-Being
Pages (from-to)22-40
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • Eating behaviors, family food environment, overweigt, self-regulation, Young People

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 86659681