Article

The need for family meals.

University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association (Impact Factor: 3.92). 03/2006; 106(2):218-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.jada.2005.12.023
Source: PubMed
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    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.
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