Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wellness Wednedsay: The Benefits of the Family Table

Did You Know? According to the American Dietetic Association, studies have shown that children who have frequent family dinners tend to have healthier diets.

Now, that may seem like a “no-brainer” but here are some more interesting facts about the benefits of “The Family Table”:

Researchers at the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University have noted a correspondence between family dinners and positive behaviors and living-styles among American teens. Researchers compared the responses of children who reported having family dinners fewer than three times a week with those who have family dinners five times or more per week. The study concluded that children who enjoy frequent dinners with their family are far less likely to develop substance abuse problems.

If a child has family dinner time on a regular basis, he or she is:
-Half as likely to try cigarettes or marijuana
-One-third less likely to try alcohol
-Less likely to have friends who drink alcohol or use marijuana
-More likely to say they won't ever try drugs

In addition to avoiding substance abuse issues, children who have regular family dinners:
-earn better grades
-are more likely to claim that their parents are proud of them
-are less likely to report tension among family members
-are more likely to confide in a parent with regard to a serious problem

Researchers for the University of Minnesota School of Public Health found that adolescent girls who have frequent family dinners are less likely to use diet pills or develop eating disorders, such as binge eating or self-induced vomiting.

Why does family dinner time promote such healthy habits? Experts believe a regular face-time between parents and children facilitates communication, which, in turn, helps parents guide their children's behavior. A meal just happens to be the most convenient opportunity for families to connect with each other on a regular basis.

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