Navigation Links
Recipe for family mealtimes calls for 3 ingredients in the right amounts
Date:2/4/2011

URBANA A University of Illinois scientist reports that family mealtimes that contain three ingredients in the right amounts can improve the quality of life in children who have chronic asthma.

"Family mealtimes, when they're done right, are linked to many benefits for children, including a reduced risk of substance abuse, eating disorders, and obesity. In this study, we've put these mealtimes under a microscope so we can see minute by minute which factors deliver these healthy outcomes," said Barbara H. Fiese, director of the U of I's Family Resiliency Center.

Which three ingredients make such a big difference? It's as easy to remember as ABC: action, which includes eliminating such distractions as cell phones and the TV; behavior control, which involves discipline that isn't harsh and also teaches manners; and communication that shows genuine interest and concern about what's going on in each others' lives.

And, because any good recipe is specific about the amounts of each ingredient, Fiese has issued some guidelines.

"Communication is by far the most important ingredient. The average family meal takes 18 minutes, and I'd allot about 2 minutes to action, 4 minutes to behavior control, and 12 minutes to positive communication that affirms kids' importance, helps them resolve troublesome issues, and reminds them to take their medicine or write a thank-you note," she said.

Fiese and her colleagues videotaped 200 families that included children aged 5 to 12 with persistent asthma, observing and coding their actions during family meals. Caregivers filled out a questionnaire assessing the severity of the child's symptoms, and a respiratory therapist checked the kids' lung functioning. The researchers controlled for adherence to medication.

The kids filled out a 23-item asthma-specific questionnaire assessing their quality of life, rating such items as the degree to which they worried about their symptoms and how well they were able to take part in everyday activities.

"When children were part of families that 'followed the recipe,' their asthma symptoms were less severe and they were more apt to take their medicine. They also tended to worry less about their symptoms, and they were able to engage more fully in activities at school and after school," Fiese said.

When mealtimes had more distractions, asthma symptoms were more pronounced, she said.

"In families headed by a single parent or when the primary caregiver had less education, we found that mealtimes contained more disruptions, including watching TV and talking on cell phones, and less time talking about the day's events. If there's a lot of confusion, it's hard for family members to follow conversations," she said.

Single parents and those with less education also spent more time controlling behavior and were likely to use harsher methods to restore order to the family table. It's not that being a single parent or lower levels of education cause more disruptions during mealtimes. Rather, it may be that families with fewer resources find it difficult to manage time and need more assistance, she said.

According to Fiese, children thrive on routine, and disorganized meals are related to poorer health for the children who participate in them. These children are believed to be at highest risk for poorly controlled asthma and are most likely to use the emergency room for health care.

"We need to pay attention to the chronic stress that compromises health in low-income families that have few resources," she said.

Recent research suggests that poor organizationa lot of chaos in the family environment disrupts learning and predicts poor social and emotional development, she noted.

"Family mealtimes that follow these ABC guidelines are an important ritual that parents can use to counter that trend," she said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Phyllis Picklesimer
p-pickle@illinois.edu
217-244-2827
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Recipe for capturing authentic embryonic stem cells may apply to any mammal, study suggests
2. A recipe for dog bite injuries: Kids, dogs and warm weather
3. U of C chemists discover recipe to design a better type of fuel cell
4. NASA, Purdue study offers recipe for global warming-free industrial materials
5. Research develops simple recipe for fungus-free horseradish
6. Ginger is key ingredient in recipe for conserving stag beetles
7. Queens University Belfast researchers trace octopuses family tree
8. Children distressed by family fighting have higher stress hormones
9. Planetary "first family" discovered by astronomers using Gemini and Keck Observatories
10. Planetary first family discovered by astronomers using Gemini and Keck Observatories
11. Making the ultimate family sacrifice
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 The ... Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, ... Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion ... and 2022. The base year considered for the study ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 The Controller General of Immigration from ... Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the ... Continue Reading ... ... Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based ... to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD ... 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. ... Cancer Research, London (ICR) and University ... SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma ... MUK nine . The University of Leeds ... partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, has ... The bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal to ... period. , It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet cooking ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 10, 2017 International research firm Parks Associates announced ... at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in ... residential home security market and how smart safety and security products impact ... Parks Associates: Smart Home ... "The residential security market has ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... DIEGO , Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech ... biological mechanism by which its ProCell stem cell ... critical limb ischemia.  The Company, demonstrated that treatment ... amount of limbs saved as compared to standard ... the molecule HGF resulted in reduction of therapeutic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: