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:6/26/2016)... ... ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer is helping to develop a weight ... app plans to fix the two major problems leading the fitness industry today:, ... program , They don’t eliminate all the reasons people quit their exercise program ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can ... Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey ... cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... TX (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... the United States, named Dr. Sesan Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its new ... the facility Medical Director of our new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van ... Wellness at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite ... 7th annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer ... unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid ... healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Research and ... Market for Companion Diagnostic Tests" report to their offering. ... for Companion Diagnostics The World Market for ... personalized medicine diagnostics. Market analysis in the report includes the ... Market (In Vitro Diagnostic Kits) by Region (N. America, EU, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  MedSource announced today that it has ... solution of choice.  This latest decision demonstrates MedSource,s ... their clients by offering a state-of-the-art electronic data ... nowEDC as the EDC platform of choice in ... "nowEDC has long been a preferred EDC platform ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... INDIANAPOLIS , June 23, 2016 Roche ... received 510(k) clearance for its Elecsys BRAHMS PCT (procalcitonin) ... severe sepsis or septic shock. With this clearance, Roche ... provide a fully integrated solution for sepsis risk assessment ... associated with bacterial infection and PCT levels in blood ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: