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Korean J Community Nutr. 2010 Apr;15(2):206-226. Korean. Original Article.
Sung SJ , Kwon S .
Department of Food and Nutrition, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea.
Department of Nutrition and Foodservice Management, Paichai University, Daejeon, Korea. sunwoo@pcu.ac.kr
Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of eating with family or alone on the self-rated mental or physical health and then work out strategies of making people recognize the importance of eating with family and its practice. Study subjects were 610 primary school 5th- and 6th-grade students in Daejeon Area. A questionnaire survey was carried out. 57.9% of students had working mothers. The frequency of meal in a day was 2.90 +/- 0.42 and this frequency was lower in students who had working mothers (p < 0.05). The frequency of skipping breakfast (times/week) was 1.02 +/- 1.77. The frequencies of eating alone (times/week) were 1.04 +/- 1.65 for breakfast and 0.97 +/- 1.52 for dinner. Also, the frequency of eating alone for dinner was higher in students who had working mothers (p < 0.001). When the frequency of eating alone for breakfast or dinner was higher, the frequencies of skipping breakfast and dinner were also higher (for all, p < 0.01). When the frequency of eating alone for breakfast or dinner was higher, the self-rated positive mental health were lower (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01 respectively) and the self-rated negative mental health (for dinner, p < 0.05) and the self-rated negative physical health was higher (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01 respectively), thus presenting negative health. The frequencies of eating with family (times/week) were 3.37 +/- 2.50 for breakfast and 4.14 +/- 2.19 for dinner. Also, the frequency of eating with family for dinner was lower in students who had working mothers (p < 0.01). When the frequency of eating with family for breakfast was higher, the frequency of skipping breakfast was lower (p < 0.01). When the frequency of eating with family for dinner was higher, the frequency of skipping dinner was lower (p < 0.01). In addition, when the frequency of eating with family for breakfast or dinner was higher, the self-rated positive mental health were higher (for both, p < 0.01) and the self-rated negative mental health was lower (for breakfast, p < 0.01) and self-rated negative physical health were lower (for both, p < 0.01), thus presenting positive health. Therefore, in order to maintain positive health, it is necessary to recognize the importance of eating with family at home and educate people to carry out a systematic and continuous dietary life, thus increasing eating with family and reducing eating alone and skipping a meal.

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