Family Meals
Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Eating regular family meals can positively impact the development of healthful eating behaviors for youths, research has shown. Dr. Edward Hill takes a closer look at the studyís conclusions in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Regular family meals improve diet quality during the transition from early to middle adolescence.

Researchers analyzed diet and weight data on 670 Minnesota students who completed surveys and a questionnaire in 1999, when they were 12 or 13 years old. Five years later, they completed another questionnaire on their family eating habits and patterns as high schoolers.

Over time, regular family meals declined. Sixty percent of youngsters had regular family meals during early adolescence versus 30 percent during middle adolescence.

The researchers say that having regular family meals was associated with a greater frequency of eating breakfast and dinner, and also increased intake of vegetables, calcium-rich food, dietary fiber and nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.

Young people who had regular family meals around the ages of 12 to 13 and also five years later had better diet quality.

Parents should take every opportunity to pass along good diet habits to their children. A good diet can be habit forming and carry over into adulthood.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.