Healthier home food preparation methods and youth and caregiver psychosocial factors are associated with lower BMI in African American youth

Rebecca F. Kramer, Anastasia J. Coutinho, Elisabeth Vaeth, Karina Christiansen, Sonali Suratkar, Joel Gittelsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Obesity disproportionately affects African American (AA) children and adolescents and leads to an increased risk of adult chronic diseases. Eating few meals at home has been implicated as a cause of obesity among youth, but to our knowledge, previous studies have not specifically investigated this relationship in AA adolescents or looked at both the healthfulness and frequency of home meals in AA households. The objective of the present study was to investigate the relationship between home food preparation and adolescent BMI in a sample of 240 AA adolescents aged 10-15 y and their caregivers. Multiple linear regressions were used to model psychosocial characteristics, household factors, and adolescent and caregiver food preparation behaviors as predictors of adolescent BMI, and psychosocial and household factors as predictors of food preparation behavior. Adolescents in the sample had a mean BMI-for-age percentile of 70.4, and .90% of the sample families received at least one form of food assistance. Adolescent children of caregivers who used healthier cooking methods were more likely to use healthy cooking methods themselves (P = 0.02). Having more meals prepared by a caregiver was predictive of higher BMI-for-age percentile in adolescents (P = 0.02), but healthier cooking methods used by the caregiver was associated with reduced risk of adolescent overweight or obesity (P < 0.01). Meals prepared at home in AA households do not necessarily promote healthy BMI in youth. Family meals are a promising adolescent obesity prevention strategy, but it is important to target both frequency and healthfulness of meals prepared at home for effective health promotion in AA families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)948-954
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume142
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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