Navigation Links
Family Meals Keep Kids Slimmer, Healthier, Study Finds
Date:5/2/2011

By Ellin Holohan
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- Eating meals with their families helps keep kids slimmer and healthier, a new study finds.

Researchers pooled data from 17 earlier studies and found that youngsters who joined family members regularly for meals were 24 percent more likely to eat healthy foods than kids who rarely ate with their families. They were also less likely to suffer from eating disorders.

Parents can "really relate to and understand" the findings, published in the May 2 issue of Pediatrics, said study lead author Amber Hammons, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"We wanted to look at the family's contribution to positive outcomes as it relates to nutrition," added Hammons. "It's important for parents to know what they can do, especially with obesity and eating habits; they want to know what role they can play."

Through an Internet search in 2009, researchers at the university's Family Resiliency Center obtained relevant studies involving almost 183,000 children and teens ranging from roughly 3 to 17 years old. They looked at the youths' eating habits, weight, and whether they did anything harmful to control it.

Those who ate three or more meals a week with their families were 12 percent less likely to be overweight than those who ate few or no meals with their families, and 20 percent less likely to eat sweets, fried foods, soda, and other unhealthy foods.

Eating five or more meals together reduced the likelihood of poor nutrition by 25 percent, an analysis of eight of the studies revealed.

Kids who ate with their families also were 35 percent less likely to engage in "disordered eating" behaviors aimed at losing weight, such as binge-eating, purging, taking diet pills or laxatives, vomiting, skipping meals or smoking.

Participants were deemed overweight if they had a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 85th percentile, meaning that they were heavier than 85 percent of children their age.

Eating two or more fruits and vegetables daily, and skipping soda, candy and fried foods were included as a measure of healthy nutrition.

While the study suggests that eating together as a family confers a "protective" benefit on children, the reasons for that were unclear. Some possibilities included the value of adult role models, and adult intervention before poor behaviors became bad habits, the study said.

Other research has found that meals prepared at home are more nutritious, with more fresh fruit and vegetables, and less fat, sugar and soda.

"We know that meals prepared at home are more likely to be less calorie-dense," said Hammons. But other factors such as communication during meal time might also drive the positive influence of family meals on health, she added.

"The future direction for research will not be looking at quantity of meals but at what is making meal time so important," she said.

Another expert, Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, said the study gives "a good overview of what research shows in terms of the importance of family meals" on child health. But she cautioned about its drawbacks.

"Some of the studies have limitations, including some variability in collection of nutritional outcomes, diversity of ethnicity and gender, and how studies classified weight," Diekman said.

But even with those stumbling blocks, the study provides "strong indications that shared family meals help boost nutritional intake, control body weight, and potentially prevent disordered eating patterns," said Diekman.

Children may imitate their parents, according to other research. A survey by the American Dietetic Association Foundation found that children identified their parents as their number one role models and claimed that if their parents ate healthier foods, they would too, said Diekman.

The authors of the current study say doctors should emphasize the value of family meals for patients struggling with eating disorders or obesity.

More information

To learn more about good nutrition, visit American Dietetic Association.

SOURCES: Amber J. Hammons, Ph.D., postdoctoral research associate, Family Resiliency Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition, Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.; May 2, 2011, Pediatrics


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Student Bullying Linked to Family Violence: CDC
2. Managing pain -- a family affair
3. Ovarian cancer finding may be a win-win for at-risk women who wish to have a family
4. More smoke water pipes -- family habits significant
5. March/April 2011 Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet
6. Painkiller prescribing varies dramatically among family physicians: study
7. Cedars-Sinais mobile medical clinics receive grant from George Hoag Family Foundation
8. Family Involvement Helps Stroke Patients With Rehab
9. Stroke patients benefit from family involvement in exercise therapy
10. Family Dog Might Make Teens More Active
11. Family planning programs have success in developing countries, but need to be expanded
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
 Family Meals Keep Kids Slimmer, Healthier, Study Finds
(Date:5/6/2016)... and LONDON, UK (PRWEB) , ... May 06, 2016 , ... ... for his success in changing the way the pharmaceutical industry conducts clinical trials. This ... the world’s most influential people in pharma, and he was honored as a Tech ...
(Date:5/6/2016)... ... ... US Sports Camps has collaborated with State Rugby Organization (SRO), Rugby Oregon, ... Employing world-class rugby figures, including former Team USA players and college coaches, this program ... match play, fitness and more. , “US Sports Camps is honored to be working ...
(Date:5/6/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Innovations with Ed Begley Jr. announced today ... via Discovery Channel. Dates and show times TBA. , AsedaSciences® was established in ... innovative cellular analysis. In this segment, viewers will learn how AsedaSciences utilizes flow ...
(Date:5/6/2016)... ... ... Online HR/benefits platforms offer a range of benefits functions to employers of ... plans. “ The Rapid Emergence of Online Benefits Firms: Strategies for Health Plans and ... offer an accurate picture of online benefits today, and the possible risks and rewards. ...
(Date:5/6/2016)... ... , ... Canadian author Mark Black is a speaker, author, and life strategy coach ... world … with the help of his publisher Strategic Book Group and its subsidiary ... hospital bed waiting for a miracle: He needed a heart and double-lung transplant. From this ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... CITY, Mo. , May 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Kansas Medical Center,s Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation ... and commercialize new drugs, diagnostics and medical devices. ... provides BioNovus Innovations with rights to license, develop ... "This partnership represents ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... Sino-German High-Tech Fund to further expand product development, strengthen its disease modeling capabilities and increase market presence. ... ... ... ... Sino-German High-Tech Fund ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 3, 2016 ACME Markets, ... and Delaware County Councilman Dave White ... in all ACME pharmacies across ... Control and Prevention (CDC), naloxone has saved 26,463 lives nationwide over ... Delaware County were authorized to administer naloxone ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: