Professor Fiese made her discovery whilst reviewing 17 studies which focussed on the eating patterns and nutrition of almost 200,000 teenagers and children.
What Fiese saw was a number of patterns showing that teenagers who eat with their families at least five times each week are up to 35 per cent less likely to develop ‘disordered eating’ such as binging, skipping meals, taking diet pills, vomiting, taking laxatives, eating very little or smoking to avoid weight gain.
The study, which was published in the journal Paediatrics also revealed that those who ate meals with their family three times a week were 12 per cent less likely to being overweight and they were also 24 per cent more likely to choose and eat healthy foods and adopt healthy eating habits.
Professor Fiese, who is based at the University of illinois in the US has said that she believes a family mealtime gives teenagers the opportunity to regularly check in with their parents, become more connected with their family and express themselves. It also gives parents ta valuable opportunity to spot any early signs of disordered eating so that they can safeguard their childrens health.
‘Family meals give them a place where they can go regularly to check in with their parents and express themselves freely.’ Said professor Fiese.
Previous research from the US has also suggested that children who don’t eat meals with their family are more likely to have difficulties at school. Drink and take drugs.
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