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Associations between company at dinner and daily diet quality in Dutch men and women from the NQplus study



Consuming the evening meal in the company of others has been associated with overall diet quality. Nevertheless, studies on the association between type of company at dinner and diet quality in adults are scarce.


Dutch men (n=895) and women (n=845) aged between 20 and 70 years, included in a population-based observational study, were studied. Dietary intake was assessed by multiple 24-h recalls (6013 recalls) to estimate the Dutch Healthy Diet index (0–80 points) representing daily diet quality. Sex-specific linear mixed models adjusting for covariates were calculated. Out-of-home dinners and company at dinner were strongly associated (r=0.66), and hence in additional analyses, out-of-home dinners were excluded to avoid multicollinearity.


Among men, daily diet quality was similar when dinners were consumed in company or consumed alone, but higher when dinner was accompanied by family (mean 46.0, s.e. 0.3) than when dinner was accompanied by others (mean 42.3, s.e. 0.7; P=0.001). Adjustment for dinner location attenuated this association, but it remained significant when excluding out-of-home dinners. Among women, daily diet quality was lower when dinner was consumed in company (mean 48.9, s.e. 0.3) than when consumed alone (mean 51.1, s.e. 0.6; P<0.001). Dinners consumed in the company of family were associated with higher daily diet quality (mean 49.3, s.e. 0.4) than dinners consumed with others (mean 45.7, s.e. 0.6; P=0.001). These associations persisted when excluding out-of-home dinners.


Only among women, dinners consumed alone as compared with dinners in company were associated with higher diet quality. In both men and women, dinners consumed with family were associated with higher diet quality as compared with dinners with others.

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The work was supported by ZonMw (Grant Number 115100007), The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development, The Hague. The NQplus study was funded by ZonMw (Grant Number 91110030) and Wageningen University. The sponsors had no role in study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation of the data and writing of the report.

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Correspondence to E J M Feskens.

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van Lee, L., Geelen, A., Hooft van Huysduynen, E. et al. Associations between company at dinner and daily diet quality in Dutch men and women from the NQplus study. Eur J Clin Nutr 70, 1368–1373 (2016).

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