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Family Meals

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Family Meals May Reduce Obesity

Eating together even once a week can reduce teen obesity risk.

Researchers followed 2,117 teens over 10 years and compared teen obesity outcomes in families that ate 0, 1-2, 3-4 or 5+ meals together each week. Compared to kids who never ate family meals, ANY number of family meals helped reduce risk of obesity, even 1 day a week. Researchers suggest that family meals provide opportunities for more nutritious food, healthy eating behaviors and improved emotional connections.

PositiveTip: Eat at least one family meal together each week to improve your family’s long-term health.

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Family Meals Help with Fruits and Vegetables

Children who eat meals with their family eat more fruits and vegetables

Children in families who regularly eat fruits and vegetables and eat together are more likely to meet the WHO's regular daily intake of five 2.8 oz. servings per day. A study of almost 3000 children in London with an average age of 8.3 years also found that kids ate more when fruits and vegetables where cut into small pieces. The combination of eating together as a family, positive parental examples, and cutting up fruits and vegetables significantly increased consumption.

PositiveTip: Families, eat your meals and fruits and vegetables together!

The Importance of Family Meals: Reduce Problem Behaviors

Mother with two daughters eating dessert at the table.This is the seventh blog in a series exploring the benefits of eating meals together as a family.

This report comes from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Bisakha Sen, scholar at the Lister Hill Center said, “Increased frequency of family dinners is associated with lower probabilities of all substance-use and running away for females; binge-drinking, physical fights, property-destruction, stealing and running away for males; and less marijuana use for both genders. In addition, these effects are evident even when the empirical models control for good family connectedness, close parental monitoring, and other potential confounders.”

The Importance of Family Meals: Nutritional Quality

This is the third blog in a series exploring the benefits of eating meals together as a family.

A report from the University of Florida says that one of the real benefits of family meals is the opportunity for conversation that it brings (see the last post in this series). The report goes on to reveal that eating together as a family is also associated with better nutritional quality of food eaten. Here is what they say:

The Importance of Family Meals: Planning Mealtime Conversation

This is the second blog in a series that is exploring some benefits of eating meals together as a family.

A report from the University of Florida points out that one of the real benefits of family meals is that it gives the opportunity for conversation. There are real benefits to these mealtime conversations.

Dinner-time conversation expands the vocabulary and reading ability of children. This benefit does not depend on the family's socio-economic status -- children in all families do better when they engage in dinner conversations.

The Importance of Family Meals: Intro

Eating meals together as a family is incredibly important. Here is a statement from a report from the University of Florida on this topic:

In many of today's households, family dinners have become a thing of the past. With busy schedules held by both parents and children, many families rarely have time to eat dinner together. In recent years, nutrition professionals have been promoting family dinners as research demonstrates the benefits that eating together can provide to family members.

You may be wondering, “Why are family dinners so important?”

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Families Who Eat Together Get More of the Good Stuff!

Eating family meals together increases intakes of fruit and vegetables.

Eating the evening meal as a family has been shown to increase the intake of fruits and vegetables, which provide a variety of nutrients and dietary fiber. Families who eat dinner together tend to have a higher consumption of eating the recommended intake of fruit and vegetables. Studies have also shown that families who eat dinner together tend to eat fewer fried foods and drink less soda. 

PositiveTip: Eat meals together as a family. It is healthier for everyone!