Family Dinners Shape Healthier Eating Habits

WEDNESDAY Sept. 12, 2007 -- Teens who eat dinner with their families on a regular basis are also more likely to eat fruit and vegetables as young adults, a new study shows.

These teens also go on to drink fewer soft drinks in adulthood, the study found.

Reporting in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers at the University of Minnesota surveyed more than 1,500 students once during high school and again at age 20 about diet, social eating, meal structure and meal frequency.

The survey included questions about how often their family ate together, how much they enjoyed eating with family, if they ate on the run, and how often they ate breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Teens who reported eating family meals were more likely to report eating fruit, dark green and orange vegetables and key nutrients, and drinking fewer soft drinks. The more frequently they ate family meals as teens, the more likely they were to eat dinner as adults, placing a higher priority on structured meals and social eating.

For women, eating with their family during adolescence meant significantly higher daily consumption of calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6 and fiber as adults. Among males, eating with their family during adolescence results in eating more calcium, magnesium, potassium and fiber as adults.

More information

For more tips on planning a healthy family meal, visit Meal Planning.

Posted: September 2007


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