Eating in front of TV, skipping meal tied to low self-esteem in children
Meal regularity shows a significant and consistent association with self-esteem, suggests a recent study involving grade 5 children.
“Meal regularity is associated with many aspects of mental health,” the authors said.
Using the Harvard Youth/Adolescent Food Frequency Questionnaire, the authors collected cross-sectional meal regularity survey data (family supper, supper in front of the television, supper alone, skipping breakfast, and skipping lunch) among 4,009 grade 5 students (mean age, 11.0 years) from the 2011 Children’s Lifestyle and School Performance Study in Canada and examined these indicators in relation to self-esteem.
Odds ratios (ORs) and 95 percent confidence intervals (CIs) associated with low self-esteem were calculated using multilevel mixed-effects logistic regression. Analyses were then stratified by sex and adjusted for sociodemographic and lifestyle covariates.
Children who ate supper in front of the television ≥5 times/week were more likely to have low self-esteem (OR, 1.85, 95 percent CI, 1.40–2.43) than those who ate supper in front of the television or alone either never or less than once a week.
In addition, children who never ate family supper or less than once a week had greater odds of low self-esteem (OR, 1.97, 95 percent CI, 1.51–2.56) compared to those who ate family supper ≥5 times/week, as did children who skipped breakfast (OR, 2.92, 95 percent CI, 1.87–4.57) and lunch (OR, 4.82, 95 percent CI, 2.14–10.87).
These findings showed that a relationship exists between meal regularity and self-esteem in children.