Family dinner time could prevent eating disorders

January 10, 2008 9:41:01 AM PST
Sitting down for regular family meals may protect some teenagers from developing eating disorders.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that adolescent girls who ate five or more meals each week with their families were about one-third less likely to engage in extreme weight control behaviors than girls who ate less frequently with their families.

However, the researchers found that boys who ate with their families more often were actually at increased risk of unhealthy weight control behaviors. They speculate that eating with family somehow benefits girls more than it does boys.

Researchers also note that the way that some families interact at meal times can actually promote unhealthy eating habits.

This study is in the January edition of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.