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Associations between partnering and parenting transitions and dietary habits in young adults


Smith, KJ and McNaughton, SA and Gall, SL and Otahal, P and Dwyer, T and Venn, AJ, Associations between partnering and parenting transitions and dietary habits in young adults, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 117, (8) pp. 1210-1221. ISSN 2212-2672 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.jand.2016.12.008


Background: Partnering and parenting are important life-stage transitions that often occur during young adulthood. Little is known about how these transitions affect two dietary behaviors linked to increased cardiometabolic disease risk: skipping breakfast and takeaway-food consumption.

Objective: Our aim was to examine whether partnering and parenting transitions during a 5-year period were associated with change in diet quality, skipping breakfast, and takeaway-food consumption.

Design: We conducted a cohort study. Questionnaires were completed at baseline (2004 to 2006) and follow-up (2009 to 2011). Marital status and number of children were self-reported.

Participants/setting: Australian participants (n = 1,402 [39% men]) aged 26 to 36 years were included.

Main outcomes measures: Diet quality was assessed using a Dietary Guideline Index. Breakfast skipping (not eating before 9 am the previous day) and frequent takeaway-food consumption (≥ 2 times/week) were reported.

Statistical analysis: Linear regression (mean differences in Dietary Guideline Index) and log binomial regression (relative risks for skipping breakfast and frequent takeaway-food consumption) were adjusted for age, education, follow-up duration, day of the week (skipping breakfast only), the other transition, and baseline behavior.

Results: During the 5-year follow-up, 101 men and 93 women became married/living as married, and 149 men and 155 women had their first child. Diet quality improved among all groups and was similar at follow-up between those who experienced the transitions and those who did not. Compared to having no children, having a first child was associated with a lower risk of skipping breakfast for men (relative risk 0.65; 95% CI 0.42 to 1.01) and women (relative risk 0.47; 95% CI 0.31 to 0.72). Men who became partnered also had a lower risk of skipping breakfast than those who remained single (relative risk 0.64; 95% CI 0.42 to 0.98). The transitions were not significantly associated with takeaway-food consumption.

Conclusions: Life-stage transitions were not associated with better diet quality. Participants who became partnered or parents were more likely to eat breakfast at follow-up than those who remained single or had no children.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:diet quality, takeaway food, Skipping breakfast, marriage, parent
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Epidemiology
Research Field:Epidemiology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Nutrition
UTAS Author:Smith, KJ (Dr Kylie Smith)
UTAS Author:Gall, SL (Associate Professor Seana Gall)
UTAS Author:Otahal, P (Mr Petr Otahal)
UTAS Author:Venn, AJ (Professor Alison Venn)
ID Code:114185
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2017-02-08
Last Modified:2019-07-23

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