Thursday, September 10, 2009
Positive Effects of Family Dining
Family meals have numerous benefitsURBANA, Ill. (UPI) -- Family mealtimes are a way to improve nutrition and reduce stress in families, and parents should set time for regular family meals, a U.S. researcher advises. "There are few things parents can do that are as effective in protecting their families as taking 18 to 20 minutes to eat together and talk with each other three to five times a week," Barbara H. Fiese of the University of Illinois says in a statement. Fiese says research indicates the following benefits of family mealtimes: -- Teens who eat five or more meals a week with their families are less likely to smoke cigarettes and marijuana and abuse alcohol. -- Children who take part in regular family mealtimes have greater vocabulary growth and higher academic achievement. -- Frequently shared mealtimes protect against obesity in children and eating disorders in preteens and adolescents. -- For young children, family mealtimes mean fewer behavior problems. -- Teens who dine regularly with their families tend to eat more fruits and vegetables. -- Meals prepared at home tend to be lower in calories and fat than restaurant food. The report appears in the Social Policy Report.