a1 Folkhälsan Research Center, Paasikivenkatu 4, 00250 Helsinki, Finland
a2 Hjelt Institute, Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
a3 Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
a4 Unit for Nutrition Research, Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition, School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland & Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland
a5 EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research and the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
a6 Institute of Nutritional Sciences, Unit for International Nutrition, Faculty of Agricultural Nutrition, Environmental Sciences and Home Economics, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany
a7 Faculty of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
a8 Department of Social Medicine, Preventive Medicine & Nutrition Clinic, University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
a9 Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
a10 National Education Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana, Slovenia
a11 National Center for Public Health Protection, Sofia, Bulgaria
a12 School of Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Meal Sciences, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden
Objective Family meals have been negatively associated with overweight in children, while television (TV) viewing during meals has been associated with a poorer diet. The aim of the present study was to assess the association of eating family breakfast and dinner, and having a TV on during dinner, with overweight in nine European countries and whether these associations differed between Northern and Southern & Eastern Europe.
Design Cross-sectional data. Schoolchildren reported family meals and TV viewing. BMI was based on parental reports on height and weight of their children. Cut-off points for overweight by the International Obesity Task Force were used. Logistic regressions were performed adjusted by age, gender and parental education.
Setting Schools in Northern European (Sweden, the Netherlands, Iceland, Germany and Finland) and Southern & Eastern European (Portugal, Greece, Bulgaria and Slovenia) countries, participating in the PRO GREENS project.
Subjects Children aged 10–12 years in (n 6316).
Results In the sample, 21 % of the children were overweight, from 35 % in Greece to 10 % in the Netherlands. Only a few associations were found between family meals and TV viewing during dinner with overweight in the nine countries. Northern European children, compared with other regions, were significantly more likely to be overweight if they had fewer family breakfasts and more often viewed TV during dinner.
Conclusions The associations between family meals and TV viewing during dinner with overweight were few and showed significance only in Northern Europe. Differences in foods consumed during family meals and in health-related lifestyles between Northern and Southern & Eastern Europe may explain these discrepancies.
(Received March 18 2013)
(Revised July 31 2013)
(Accepted October 02 2013)
(Online publication March 19 2014)