With your family’s busy schedule, it can be tough to find time to sit down at the dinner table together. But while meatloaf and mashed potatoes with your immediate family may be important for quality together time, scientists have found another benefit: Apparently family meals are healthier, especially for young people.According to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, teenagers who eat with family are less likely to develop cardiovascular and weight issues than if they consistently dined alone.
Researchers analyzed the eating habits, BMIs, weight, and cholesterol of 14,000 ninth graders over a period of four years. Scientists found that teenagers who ate with their families at least six or seven times a week had a BMI that averaged around four percentile points lower than kids who did not find time to dine with Mom and Dad.
Why? Researchers believe that family meals are far more nutritious than what adolescents might eat if they were on their own on eating with friends. Plus, the effects of dining companion habits could have a serious impact later on in life.
“Cardiovascular risk factors track into adulthood,” Dr. Michael Khoury, a pediatrician at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, told The Boston Globe. “Kids who have problems are far more likely to have problems as adults.”