Teenagers and parents take note. Having dinner together with their families may inculcate healthier eating habits in teens, a new study has revealed. Teenagers who eat alone may binge more on junk and have irregular eating patterns. Teenagers and young adults who eat with their families may imbibe better dietary practices and even bond with them more. The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, found that when families sit down together, adolescents and young adults eat more fruits and veggies and their intake of fast-food is also significantly less as compared to those who eat alone.
"Our research found that family dinners are a great way to improve the dietary intake of the whole family, regardless of how well the family functions together," said lead researcher Kathryn Walton, post-doctoral researcher at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, Canada. "It's a time when families can slow down from their busy days to talk, spend time together and problem-solve. It's also a time that parents can model healthful eating behaviours," Walton added.
In addition to healthy eating habits, preparing and enjoying a meal together can also help families bond, revealed the study. "Even if it's something you pull out of the freezer, add a bagged salad on the side and you'll have a decent nutritional meal," said Jess Haines, Professor from the University of Guelph in Canada.
For the study, the team looked at more than 2,700 participants, 14 to 24 years of age. Walton said many teenagers and young adults living at home are busy with evening extracurricular activities or part-time jobs, making it hard to find time for dinner with family members. But having even one meal together-even if it's breakfast together -- can be just as effective, the researcher said.
(With Inputs IANS)