Associations Between Parent–Adolescent Health-Related Conversations and Mealtime Media Use Among Hispanic Families

Gabriela M. Martinez, Sonia Vega-López, Stephanie Ayers, Anaid Gonzalvez, Meg Bruening, Beatriz Vega-Luna, Flavio F. Marsiglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Whereas parents play an important role in shaping the home environment, it is unknown whether health-related parent–adolescent conversations may be associated with different health-promoting parenting practices, such as limiting adolescent mealtime media use in Hispanic families. Method: For this cross-sectional analysis, Hispanic parents (n = 344; 40.4 + 6.6 years; 89.2% female) of sixth- to eighth-grade adolescents self-reported the frequency of having health- or weight-related conversations with their adolescent child, and the frequency of adolescent mealtime media device use. Spearman’s rank correlations were used to assess whether parent–adolescent health-related conversations are associated with mealtime media device use by adolescents. Results: Over 75% of parents reported having conversations about healthy eating and being physically active at least a few times per week. Fewer parents reported having frequent weight-related conversations. Frequency of mealtime media use was low, except for television/movie watching (only 30% of parents reported their child rarely/never watching television during family meals). Having conversations related to the adolescent weighing too much was correlated with the mealtime use of television (r =.207; p,.001), cellphones (r =.134; p =.018), and headphones for music listening (r =.145; p =.010). Conversations about exercising to lose weight were correlated with television/movie watching during mealtimes (r =.129; p =.035). Discussion: Findings suggest the co-occurrence of less health-promoting parenting behaviors, such as focusing on weight-related conversations and allowing the use of media devices during mealtimes. Focusing on health- rather than weight-related parent–adolescent conversations and implementing mealtime media use rules may have the potential to shape a home food environment which ultimately could improve an adolescent’s overall health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFamilies, Systems and Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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