Frequency in Eating Family Meals Leads to Better Eating Habits

Sep 05, 2007
Researchers from the University of Minnesota found that when people often eat together with their family during adolescence they can positively influence their dietary quality when reaching young adulthood.

Scientists questioned more than 1,500 high-school students once, and later, when students were 20 they were questioned them again. This was performed with the goal of determining how do family meals, social eating, the composition of meals and their frequency influence diet quality in the long-run.

Several questions were asked to those that participated in the study. Thus, researchers were able to answer questions related to the frequency of family meals eating, the enjoyment of sitting down to a meal together with family or friends, the habit of eating on the run and the frequency of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner.

After the end of the study researchers found that those, who ate family meals during adolescence, when becoming adults ate more fruits, dark-green and orange vegetables and they also drank less soft drinks.

Women who ate family meals would have breakfast as adults. Men and women who frequently ate family meals as adolescents, had dinner more frequently as adults. Thus both sexes enjoyed structured meals and both opted for social eating.

Those women, who often ate together with their family during adolescence, when turning adults ate more food that contained calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6 and fiber. Men, who often ate together with their family during adolescence, had higher intakes of such elements as calcium, magnesium, potassium and fiber as adults.

"Food and nutrition professionals should encourage families to share meals as often as practically possible," researchers said.

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