For many years, it has been widely believed that it can be quite beneficial for families to share at least some of their meals together. Now, a recent article on the Medical Xpress website tells about a Canadian study that has determined that shared family meals lead to healthier eating habits.
Researchers from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, conducted a study of 2,700 teenagers and people in their early twenties. The study subjects were asked about their eating habits, including how often they ate fast food and sugary drinks, compared to fresh fruits and vegetables. The researchers also wanted to know how frequently the participants shared meals with their families, and also about their family’s overall functionality.
Kathryn Walton, the lead researcher on the study, says that when families eat together, they can take a break from their busy lives. As a dietitian, Ms. Walton says that parents have the opportunity to display healthy eating habits to their children when they eat together.
Professor Jess Haines says that a shared family meal does not have to be anything fancy. Even when a simple meal is served, being able to talk and share food together can be beneficial to each member of the family.
The traditional family dinner is not taking place as often as it did in years past, partly because many teenagers and people in their twenties are busy working or engaging in other activities.
Among the findings that the study discovered are that teenagers from families with all levels of functionality experienced improved dietary intake when they engaged in family dinners. The young people were more likely to consume vegetables and fruits, and were less likely to eat fast food items.
The researchers in the study also discovered that when the study participants took part in the preparation of healthy meal items, there’s a good chance that they will want to take part in the meal.