I know. It hardly sounds like a headline, does it? But researchers have pooled data from 17 studies and found that children who ate with their families regularly were 24% more likely to eat healthy foods than kids who rarely ate with their families.
Apparently they were also less likely to suffer from eating disorders.
The study was conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and they obtained relevant studies of 183,000 children and teens ranging from 3 to 17 years old. The study looked specifically at the eating habits, weight, and whether the children did anything harmful to control weight.
According to the study, those who ate three or more meals a week with their families were 12% less likely to be overweight than those who ate less, and 20% less likely to eat sweets, fried foods and so on.
There’s a plethora of statistics out of this study, including the fact that such children would be 35% less likely to engage in negative behaviours aimed at losing weight, such as binging, purging, diet pills or smoking.
I remember reading a book by Sue Palmer when my daughter was still an infant and I had time for reading. One of the things she talks about is families eating together and how each of the children in a specific honours program at a school she was involved with were polled and without exception, it was found that they ate regular family meals together.
It's only recently that we decided to clear the dining table of the mountain of paperwork and other odds and ends covering it, switch off the telly, and actually make dinner time family too – with no laptop and no Blackberry to distract us from talking about our day – all the while laying the foundations for an honours student with no eating disorders. Or that’s the hope. But even if not, it's just nice catching up with each other at the end of the day.
Image Credit: Lori de Lozier