Barbara J. Mayfield


Foods and Nutrition




F&N, fruits, vegetables, television, family meals


Studies have shown an association between the frequency of family meals and the meal time environment and the dietary quality of those meals, including the presence of fruits and vegetables. One aspect of meal time environment that may be an important factor is television viewing during meals. The purpose of this project was to develop and evaluate a family meal assessment tool to measure television viewing during meals and fruit and vegetable consumption within families served by 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-retest reliability. This sample completed the assessment twice, one week apart. A qualitative survey of how to most efficiently collect participant and intervention data was also administered. Six professionals and paraprofessionals representing the targeted populations evaluated the cover information page in a focus group setting, and 3 did so in open-ended interviews. To analyze data, principal component analysis (PCA), paired t-tests and Pearson correlation coefficients, and separate linear regression analysis were completed. The findings of this study were that all questions measuring television viewing during meals showed significant test-retest reliability (p<.05). Increased television viewing during meals was negatively associated with fruit and vegetable intake (p< .01). Questions were selected for the final SNAP Family Meal Assessment Tool based on response failure rates, test-retest reliability, and the relationship of family meal measures to fruit and vegetable intake. The family meal assessment questions fit on one page for ease and efficiency. The tool includes a cover page to collect data about participants and family meal education. In the future, this tool will be administered as a pretest before family meal education and again as a post-test at a follow-up visit. The tool can be easily administered and completed to effectively evaluate the impact of SNAP family meal education.