Barbara J. Mayfield


Foods and Nutrition




F&N, fruit and vegetable consumption, family meals, mealtime environment


Research indicates a positive association between family meal frequency, positive family meal environment, and increased fruit and vegetable consumption among children.

The purpose of this project was to develop and evaluate a tool to assess frequency of family meals, characteristics of the mealtime environment, and fruit and vegetable consumption in families served by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and the Family Nutrition Program (FNP), the programs targeted by Indiana’s State Nutrition Action Plan (SNAP).

A quantitative survey of family meal assessment questions was pilot tested with a sample of 144 participants in the three programs targeted by SNAP. The survey was then administered to 20 parents of children enrolled in Purdue’s Child Development lab schools to determine test-rest reliability. A qualitative survey on how to efficiently collect participant intervention data was also administered. Six professionals and paraprofessionals representing the targeted populations evaluated the cover information page in a focus group as well as 3 open-ended interviews.

Principal Component Analysis (PCA), paired t-tests and Pearson correlation coefficients, and separate linear regression analysis were completed. The findings indicate most results of questions showed significant test-retest reliability (p<.05).

Increased family meal frequency and a positive family meal environment were both positively associated with fruit and vegetable intake (p< .01).Questions for the final SNAP Family Meal Assessment Tool were selected based on response failure rates, test-retest reliability, and the relationship of family meal measures to fruit and vegetable intake.

In the future, the tool will be administered as a pretest before family meal education and again as a post-test at a follow-up visit. This tool can be easily administered and completed to effectively evaluate the impact of SNAP family meal education.