Children who have family meals are ‘less likely to be overweight and binge on junk food’

Daily Mail UK 2nd May 2011

Children who sit down to eat with their families are less likely to be overweight and eat unhealthy foods, according to researchers. They found youngsters who ate with their parents at least three times a week were 12 per cent less likely to be overweight. The children were also 20 per cent less likely to eat junk food, 35 per cent less likely to have eating problems like skipping meals or bingeing, and 24 per cent more likely to eat vegetables and other healthy foods. Sitting down together as a family, there are nutritional benefits from that,’ said Amber Hammons, from the University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign, whose findings are published in the journal Pediatrics. However, the latest paper reviewed 17 studies that were based on observations not actual experiments, and Professor Hammons acknowledged this didn’t prove shared meals trim waistlines. ‘It’s just an association,’ she said. Families who sit down together could be healthier to begin with.’