2010-2011 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
Family dinners have always been thought to be of great importance in a child's upbringing. They have been proven to positively affect a child's mental and physical health. Additionally, nutritional benefits have been found to be one of the many positive outcomes of family meals. What happens to an adolescent's weight when they leave home? Most college students live in dormitories on college campuses, apartments, or houses with friends. A striking trend among college students is an average weight gain of .73 pounds per week to 4.2 pounds per every twelve weeks. In order to study the correlation of family dinners and its effect on the weight gain of college students; 187 students ages 18-23 were surveyed at the University of Kentucky. The average high school weight was 157.13 ± 45.52 and the average college weight was 162.16 ± 47.91 (p=0.0002). There was an average of 4.49± 1.67 family dinners per week in high school. Students Who grew up having 0-1 family dinners per week averaged in an increase weight gain of 2.25 lbs. while students with 4 or more family dinners per week had an average weight gain of 5.66 lbs. From this it is concluded that family dinners did not have a positive effect on college weight gain.