[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Title: The family meal: somewhat more than eating together The family can exert a strong influence on children's diet and eating behaviors, which, in turn, may have an impact on their weight status. Since the dawn of time, the dining table has been the nexus of family interaction. The simple act of sharing meals solidifies the family identity and family ties by modeling a wide range of learned behavioural patterns. One of the groups most affected in this respect are adolescents. Researchers have shown that family meals are associated with improved dietary intake. A higher frequency of family meals is associated with a greater intake of fruits, vegetables, grains and calcium-rich products, and negatively associated with consumption of fried foods and soft drinks. Family meals have also been shown to contribute to the development of regular eating habits and positive psychosocial functioning and to improvements in language and literacy. In addition, family meals have been associated with reduced risk-taking behav- iours such as smoking and alcohol and drug use, as well as better school performance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective: What predicts whether a child will be at risk for obesity? Whereas past research has focused on foods and eating habits, this study departs from a food-centric approach to examine how various dinner rituals might influence the BMIs of children and adults. Design and Methods: In this study of 190 parents (BMI =29.1 ± 7.2) and 148 children (BMI =20.3 ± 4.4), the relationship between their BMIs and everyday family dinner rituals was examined using both correlation and regression analysis (controlled for educational level of parents). Results: Families who frequently ate dinner in the kitchen or dining room had significantly lower BMIs for both adults (r=-.31) and children (r=-.24) compared to families who ate elsewhere. Additionally, helping cook dinner was associated with higher BMI for girls (r=.26), and remaining at the table until everyone is finished with eating was associated with lower BMI for boys (r = -.31). Conclusions: Dinner tables may be one place where social support and family involvement meet - both of which relate to the BMI of children as well as parents. Family meals and their rituals might be an underappreciated battleground to fight obesity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This review discusses evidence-based perspectives on promoting children's nutritional health. Future directions for inquiry and empirically driven public policy initiatives also are addressed.
American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine 01/2009; 3(2):115-118.
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