Study Examines Family Meals & Nutrition in Low-income Households

A new study by researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows that low-income families often fall short in reaching adequate nutrition in their diets. The paper, published in the Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal, looked at family meal patterns of 100 low-income families in Nebraska and examined the relationship between the frequency of family meals and nutritional intake. More than 100 low-income families’ eating patterns were measured, and their meals were assessed for nutritional value to determine how certain meal patterns could lead to more nutritious diets.

A majority of families in the study said they usually ate a family dinner at least five times a week, but only ate together four or fewer times a week at breakfast and lunch. Researchers said increasing the frequency of family breakfasts would have big effects on important parts of the diet — the more often families ate breakfast together, the better their intake would be with foods from the milk group, fruits and fruit juices, in particular. They also recommend that families be educated about the importance of family meals and the positive impact it has on children’s nutrition.

For more information:

  • Read the release from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Read the full text (pdf) of the study