UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The home food environment and associations with dietary intake among adolescents presenting for a lifestyle modification intervention Watts, Allison W.; Barr, Susan I.; Hanning, Rhona M.; Lovato, Chris Y.; Mâsse, Louise C.


Background: The home food environment may be an important target for addressing adolescent obesity. The aim of this study was to investigate associations between aspects of the home food environment and the diets of adolescents who present for obesity treatment. Methods: Cross-sectional baseline data were collected from 167 overweight/obese adolescent-parent pairs participating in an e-health lifestyle modification intervention. Adolescent intake of specific foods (fruit and vegetables, total fat, sugar-sweetened beverages, desserts/treats, and snacking occasions) was assessed by three 24-h dietary recalls, while household factors were collected from adolescent and parent questionnaires. Structural Equation Modeling, controlling for relevant covariates, was used to examine the relationship between adolescent diet and the following household factors: parent modeling, parenting style, family meal practices, and home food/beverage availability. Results: Findings reveal that few characteristics of the home food environment were associated with adolescent dietary intake. Greater home availability of high-fat foods was moderately associated with adolescent snack intake (β = 0.27, p < .001). Associations with fruit/vegetables and fat intake were small and some were in unexpected directions. Parent modeling of healthful food choices and healthier family meal practices were associated with lower availability of high-fat foods and treats in the home, but were not directly associated with adolescent diets. Conclusions: Parent modeling of healthy foods and positive mealtime routines might contribute to the healthfulness of foods offered in the homes of adolescents who are overweight/obese. Additional research is needed to better characterize the complex aspects of the household environment that influence adolescent diet.

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