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U of I scientist: Public policy should promote family mealtimes
Date:9/9/2009

chool lunch program and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program to better advantage. Although there have been many changes in the contents of food packages, they provide no information that promotes family mealtimes as a way to improve nutrition and reduce stress in families," she said.

Finally, Fiese said that parents must make the effort to set aside regular times for shared meals and set limits on activities--such as watching television and using cell phones for conversation and texting--that interfere with family interaction.

"Sadly, almost 46 percent of families have a television in their kitchen or dining room. Research shows that this kind of multitasking during meals makes people more likely to eat food that's high in sugar and fat and less likely to consume fruits and vegetables. Shared mealtimes aren't just about food, they're about helping family members relax," she said.

Fiese is confident that a policy push can make a difference. "Because of the advocacy of behavioral and social scientists, people have learned to wear seat belts and bike helmets for their own protection. Now it's time for policy makers to promote family mealtimes as a proven way of protecting your family's health and well-being," she said.


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Contact: Phyllis Picklesimer
p-pickle@illinois.edu
217-244-2827
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

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