J Nutr Health.  2021 Jun;54(3):292-304. 10.4163/jnh.2021.54.3.292.

Use of mothers' home meal replacement and diet quality of their young children

  • 1Major in Nutrition Education, Graduate School of Education, Kongju National University, Yesan 32439, Korea
  • 2Department of Food and Nutrition, Kongju National University, Yesan 32439, Korea


This study investigated the association between the mothers' use of home meal replacement (HMR) in their children's meals and the diet quality of their young children.
Three hundred and thirty-seven mothers with five-year-old kindergartners in Sejong city participated in the survey from June to July 2020. The questionnaire consisted of the status of HMR use in children's meals and questions for assessing the nutrition quotient for preschoolers (NQ-P). The subjects were classified into three groups according to the frequency of HMR use in children's meals: using HMR more than three times a week (high-frequency group; [HG], n = 65), one–two times a week (moderate-frequency group; [MG], n = 145), and less than once a week (low-frequency group; [LG], n = 130).
The mothers' mean age was 38.3 years. The average monthly cost of purchasing HMRs was highest at 200,000–300,000 won in HG, 50,000–100,000 won in MG, and less than 50,000 won in LG (p < 0.001). The consumption frequency of processed meats, fast foods, processed beverages, and sweet & fatty snacks was significantly higher in the HG group than the other groups. The mean NQ-P score was 60.5 in HG, 63.0 in MG, and 64.5 in LG, showing a significant difference (p < 0.01). In the sub-score according to the three areas, there were no significant differences in balance and environment among the three groups. In the moderation area, however, the score was 44.1 in HG, 51.3 in MG, and 57.5 in LG Group, showing a significant difference (p < 0.001).
The increase in HMR use was related to the decreased diet quality in the overall and moderation areas of children's diet. These results support the importance of nutrition education for mothers, which aims to reduce their children's access and exposure to processed foods, such as HMR.


HMR use; nutrition quotient; diet quality; preschool children; mothers
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