Beth W. DeGrace, Ruth E. Foust, Susan B. Sisson, Karina R. Lora; Benefits of Family Meals for Children With Special Therapeutic and Behavioral Needs. Am J Occup Ther 2016;70(3):7003350010p1-7003350010p6. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2016.014969.
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Frequency of family meals (FMs) is associated with favorable child outcomes; however, no study to date has examined the relationship between frequency of FMs and outcomes for children with disabilities. Data from the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health for children with disabilities (N = 4,336) were used. Logistic regression for each dependent variable was completed using frequency of FMs and covariates of age, gender, race, family structure, and poverty level. Each day per week increase in the frequency of FMs increased the likelihood for positive social skills (odds ratio [OR] = 1.09, 95% confidence interval [CI] [1.01, 1.19]) and engagement in school (OR = 1.09, 95% CI [1.02, 1.16]). Frequency of FMs was not associated with problematic social behaviors or parental aggravation with child. Our findings suggest that children with disabilities whose families participate in frequent FMs have a greater likelihood of positive social and family health outcomes.
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