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Eating together as a family during adolescence is associated with lasting positive effects on dietary quality in young adulthood, according to researchers at the
More than 1,500 students were surveyed once during high school and again when they were 20 years old to determine the long-term effects of family meals on diet quality, social eating, meal structure and meal frequency. Participants were asked questions such as how often they ate family meals, how much they enjoyed sitting down to a meal with family or friends, if they had a tendency to eat on the run and how often they ate breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The researchers found eating family meals together during adolescence resulted in adults who ate more fruit, dark-green and orange vegetables and key nutrients, and drank less soft drinks. Frequency of family meals predicted females would eat breakfast as adults. For both sexes, frequency of family meals as adolescents predicted eating dinner more frequently as adults, placing a higher priority on structured meals and a higher priority on social eating. For women, eating together as a family more often during adolescence meant significantly higher daily intakes as adults of calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6 and fiber. Among males, eating as a family more during adolescence predicted higher intakes of calcium, magnesium, potassium and fiber as adults.
· Australian researchers have found teenagers who regularly eat with their families are less likely to be overweight.
· Regular family meals could reduce snacking and meant parents had a better knowledge of what and how much their children ate, said lead researcher Dr Abdullah Al Mamun of
· Family meals also made for healthier food and social habits, he said.
· The study, published in the latest edition of American journal Obesity Research, found the importance mothers places on eating together was actually more significant than the frequency with which the family ate together.
· More than three quarters of families in the
The Importance of Family Dinners
The National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse at
Eating with family keeps girls healthy
A study surveying more than 2500 American high school students found that girls who ate five or more family meals a week had a much healthier relationship with food in later life. The research, published in international journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, polled students aged 13 to 17 in 1999 who were followed up five years later. Regular family meals were found to have a protective effect regardless of the girls' age, weight, socio-economic status, dieting habits or relationship with her family.
Experts say doctors should encourage families to have dinner at the table instead of on the couch in front of the television to protect against serious eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Belinda Dalton, director of eating disorders clinic The Oak House, said eating with family helped "normalise" young people's relationship with food. "When adolescents are feeling that they're not coping they turn to something that they can control and food is something available and accessible for them to control. Clearly, if they're sitting with their family on a regular basis then their family can be more in control of their eating," Ms Dalton said. "It's about families and young people feeling connected within their family and that builds self-esteem and sense of worth and that works very actively against someone developing an eating disorder."
Family meals a recipe for fit kids
Herald Sun (Aust) April 18, 2008
YOUNG kids who don't eat regular family meals and do watch lots of TV are more likely to be overweight, a new study has found. And if they gain weight by grade 3 in primary school, they are likely to never lose it, the
...."Being overweight among this age group tracks notably into adulthood," lead author Sara Gable says. "Preparing meals at home provides an opportunity for parents and children to consider food preferences and plan menus, allows for conversation about the day, and creates a setting for adults to model healthful attitudes towards food and eating."
Frequency Of Family Meals May Prevent Teen Adjustment Problems; Teens Less Likely To Do Drugs, More Motivated In School
ScienceDaily.com 21 August 1997
Volumes have been written and spoken about how to keep teenagers out of trouble. But the answer, according to a study presented at the American Psychological Association's (APA) 105th Annual Convention, may be as simple as eating meals together as a family more often.
Psychologists Blake Sperry Bowden, Ph.D., from the Cincinnati Children's
Clearly family mealtimes are strongly related to adjustment, but exactly what aspect of the event -- the sharing, the stories teens tell about their day or hear from others in the family -- helps prevent adjustment problems for them hasn't been pinpointed. But, say the authors, family mealtimes, it would appear, play an important role in helping teens deal with the pressures of adolescence.
Regular family meals boost GCSE exam results (UK)
More family meals mean less risky teen sex
To investigate, as well as to better define whether parental qualities influence a child's sexual behaviour rather than vice versa, Coley and her team used increasingly stringent statistical techniques to analyze the results of a survey of 4950 US teens, 1058 of whom were siblings. The adolescents were 12 to 16 years old when the study began, and completed the survey every year for 3 years. By comparing parenting quality and sexual behaviour for siblings raised in the same household, Coley noted, it is possible to tease out potential cause-and-effect relationships.
The more times a week that an adolescent reported having dinner with their family, "doing something religious" as a family, or having fun with their family, the less likely he or she was to engage in risky sexual behaviour, the researchers found. However, having a parent who used "negative and psychologically controlling" behaviour increased the likelihood that a teen would be having risky sex. This includes "criticizing the ideas of the adolescents, controlling and directing what they think and how they feel," Coley explained. "Negative and psychologically controlling parenting behaviour may inhibit adolescents' development of self-efficacy and identity, interfere with mature and responsible decision making skills, and affect the development of healthy relationships, in turn leading to an elevated likelihood of engaging in risky behaviour," the researchers suggest. On the other hand, they add, family activities are "centrally important supports for children, providing opportunities for emotional warmth, communication, and transmission of values and beliefs." The findings make it clear, Coley said, that "what parents do with their adolescents really matters."
Family Mealtimes Decrease Teen Rebellion
Presence of parents is key&..
11,572 teenagers over 6 years
National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health
Reported in Journal of American Medical Association 1999
Toddlers eat ‘horrifying’ diet
Mother and Baby Magazine Survey 2,000 parents.
When toddlers ranging in age from 12 months to three and a half years were made to sit at the table, mealtimes were commonly described as a "nightmare". Seven in 10 pushed their dinner off the table and refused to eat, six in 10 threw their food, half tried to climb down from the table and four in 10 screamed. Six out of 10 mothers say they lose their patience during mealtimes.
Nearly half of all toddlers never eat with the family, only 12 per cent regularly eat out with their child in tow, and 42 per cent have never eaten out in a restaurant with their toddler.
Another problem was "constant snacking". Most parents acknowledged their children would benefit from stricter family mealtimes.
· Frequency of Family Meals
· Benefits of Eating Together:
Better Adjustment of Children
· Can family Dinners be Harmful?
· Obstacles to Family Mealtimes:
The Benefits of Eating Together
The Family Who Eats Together Stays Together
-- By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietician