Family meals mean sound health

Published: Monday 15 October 2007

Family matters: Good eating ha frequent family meals in adolescence contribute to good eating habits as an adult. A new study shows family meals lead to less eating disorders and healthier food intake in adolescents. This habit also helps increase social interactions which strengthens social and psychological character in youngsters.

A study conducted among youngsters in the us found group eaters take less alcohol and consume more vegetables. For men and women, meals with family during adolescence meant significantly higher daily intakes of calcium, magnesium and fibre as adults.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota also studied how these habits evolved over time. They conducted two surveys and compared the results. The first survey was conducted a decade ago among about a thousand female students and around 800 males. The second one was conducted five years later.

It was also found women were found to skip breakfast more often when they had not enjoyed family meals when teenagers. Children were found to carry these good eating habits with them even after they move out of their family. Nicole Larson of the University of Minnesota says, "There has been little research on the relationships between social eating and psychosocial health in young adulthood, it is likely that social eating is also associated with well being during this stage of growing independence." The study was published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (Vol 107, No 9).

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