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Family Meals Keep Kids Healthier

According to a recent report published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, "Children and adolescents who share family meals 3 or more times per week are more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier dietary and eating patterns than those who share fewer than 3 family meals together." The findings are based on information collected from 17 previous studies that included 182,836 children aged 2 to 17 years. These same children are also less likely to suffer from other disordered related eating as well as more likely to make better choices in the foods that they eat. Statistically speaking, the benefits of sharing 3 or more family meals per week includes:

  • a 12 percent reduction in the odds for overweight
  • a 20 percent reduction in the odds for eating unhealthy foods (junk foods)
  • a 35 percent reduction in the odds for disordered eating
  • a 24 percent increase in the odds for eating healthy foods (vegetables and other healthy foods)

With the sharp rise in child and adulthood obesity levels, this simple change can not only help to keep children's weight better controlled but also provide an opportunity for more family time and more opportunities for conversations with ones children.

Source: Pediatrics, online May 2, 2011.