Nurturing future generations: Household food practices of Canadian children and family meal participation
Authors: Joyce Slater and Adriana Mudryj
Purpose: Food knowledge and skills appear to have declined in the general population over recent decades and may be contributing to negative outcomes and poor nutritional health. It is pertinent to observe the food skills and habits of Canadians, particularly Canadian youth. Methods: Data from the Canadian Community Health Survey 2013 Rapid Response on Food Skills (n = 10 098) were used to examine the involvement of children in food preparation processes by identifying and describing the role of children in meal preparation as well as the practice of family meals. Variables were examined to assess differentiations between socio-demographic groupings (marital status, education, and income). Results: Results indicate a moderate to high level of child participation in Canadian household food-related activities, with two-thirds of households with children having children involved in choosing meals and grocery shopping and one-third of children helping with meal preparation. Some differences were observed between region, education level, and Aboriginal and immigration status. Seventy-five percent of respondents participated in family meals. Conclusions: Data from this study contribute to the current discussion regarding loss of food skills and the significance of family meals on social and health indicators. Results suggest a range of interventions for dietitians including improving the quality of foods prepared at home and campaigns to promote family meals.
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