Family Meals, LIVE!

Family Meals, LIVE! was an innovative study designed to identify key family home environment factors that increase or minimize the risk for childhood obesity.

The knowledge gained will be used in the development and testing of novel, family-based interventions to be delivered in partnership with primary care clinics to prevent childhood obesity.

Childhood obesity is one of the most serious health problems facing youth. Low-income minority children are at the highest risk. Researchers have identified the home environment as an important influential factor and an understudied area of research.

Study Details


  • 120 racially and ethnically diverse families from the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area
  • Target children were ages 6 to 12


  • Families recorded eight days of family dinner meals using an iPad; videos were coded using the Iowa Family Interaction Rating Scale
  • Collected height and weight data on all family members
  • Home food inventories
  • Three, 24-hour dietary recalls of 6- to 12-year-old target child
  • Parent or primary guardian completed a qualitative interview regarding family meals and weight talk
  • Parent or primary guardian and target child completed quantitative surveys

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Berge JM, Draxten M, Hanson C, Trofholz A, Neumark-Sztainer D. (2018). Similarities and differences between families who have frequent and infrequent family meals: A qualitative investigation. Eating Behaviors, 29:99-106PMC Journal - In Process. 


Trofholz AC, Tate AD, Miner MH, Berge JM. (2017). Associations between TV viewing at family meals and the emotional atmosphere of the meal, meal healthfulness, child dietary intake, and child weight statusAppetite108, 361-366.

Trofholz AC, Tate AD, Draxten ML, Rowley SS, Schulte AK, Neumark-Sztainer D, ... Berge JM. (2017). What’s Being Served for Dinner? An Exploratory Investigation of the Associations between the Healthfulness of Family Meals and Child Dietary IntakeJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics117(1), 102-109


Tate AD, Trofholz A, Rudasill KM, Neumark-Sztainer D, Berge JM. Does child temperament modify the overweight risk associated with parent feeding behaviors and child eating behaviors?: An exploratory studyAppetite. 2016;101:178-83.

Trofholz AC, Tate AD, Draxten ML, Neumark-Sztainer D, Berge JM. Home food environment factors associated with the presence of fruit and vegetables at dinner: A direct observational studyAppetite. 2016;96:526-32.


Berge JM, Trofholz A, Fong S, Blue L, Neumark-Sztainer D. A qualitative analysis of parents' perceptions of weight talk and weight teasing in the home environments of diverse low-income childrenBody Image. 2015;15:8-15.


Berge JM, Rowley S, Trofholz A, et al. Childhood obesity and interpersonal dynamics during family mealsPediatrics. 2014;134(5):923-32.


Berge JM, Hoppmann C, Hanson C, Neumark-Sztainer D. (2013). Perspectives about family meals from single-headed and dual-headed households: a qualitative analysis. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Berge JM, Jin W, Hannan P, Neumark-Sztainer D. Structural and interpersonal characteristics of family meals: associations with adolescent body mass index and dietary patternsJ Acad Nutr Diet. 2013;113(6):816-22.