Family Meals Help Keep Teens Healthy

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The secret to raising healthy kids who grow into adults who make positive lifestyle choices may be having regular family meals. Recent research shows that sitting down to eat as a family can help with eating disorders, obesity and inadequate nutrition.

Study results showed that teens that eat at least five meals a week with their families are less likely to engage in behaviors such as binging and purging, using laxatives, skipping meals or smoking cigarettes to lose weight.

“For children and adolescents with disordered eating, mealtime provides a setting in which parents can recognize early signs and take steps to prevent detrimental patterns from turning into full-blowing eating disorders,” said researcher Barbara Fiese.Researchers added that children who eat at least three meals a week with their families are 12 percent less likely to be overweight than those who do not. The scientists encourage asking children questions that require more than one-word answers during meals to learn more about teens and make meal time more engaging. The example they gave was to ask what would the adolescent do if they won a million dollars.

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