An Exploration of How Family Dinners Are Served and How Service Style Is Associated With Dietary and Weight Outcomes in Children

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To explore how families serve meals and how different service styles are associated with responsive feeding and child dietary and weight outcomes.


Baseline data from a subset (n = 75) of randomized controlled trial participants (Healthy Home Offerings via the Mealtime Environment (HOME) Plus study, aged 8–12 years) were analyzed using a series of linear regression models. Adjusted means (95% confidence intervals) and beta coefficients (SEs) are presented.


Families were most likely to report plated meal service (36% of families), followed by family-style (29%). Family-style was significantly associated with a lower mean level of food restriction (P = .01). No significant associations were observed between style of meal service and child outcomes (all P > .05).

Conclusions and Implications:

Although plated meal service may seem like a desirable strategy for ensuring that children eat a healthier diet, the current results did not provide support for this association. Evidence was found to support the use of family-style meal service to promote the use of responsive feeding.

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