Eating Dinner With Family Makes People Healthier, Especially Teenagers

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Family celebrationConsidering that it is Thanksgiving in the U.S., there is good news that is particularly appropriate for the holiday, because a new study indicates that when people eat together as a family, they tend to be healthier. That’s especially true for teenagers.

According to The Daily Meal, a new study out of Canada indicates that teenagers who regularly eat at the dinner table with their families are less likely to have weight and cardiovascular problems than kids who regularly eat alone or with their friends.

The study, which was published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, looked at 14,000 Canadian 9th graders for a period of four years. According to the scientists, the average BMI was four points lower among the teenagers who ate with their families at least six or seven times a week.

Six or seven times a week is a lot, considering that teenagers tend to eat lunch at school and a lot of parents work late or have unreliable schedules, making cooking and eating together more difficult. But the researchers say that the teenagers who regularly eat dinner with their families see positive health benefits from it.

There are a lot of reasons that researchers could be seeing the results they report. Teenagers who eat with family tend to eat more healthful foods than if they were left to their own devices. Teenagers eating at a table full of their friends could also be more likely to overeat than teenagers at a table with their parents.

The researchers say this data is important, because weight and cardiovascular problems that develop in a teenager’s adolescence tend to stick through adulthood, so anything that can help a person develop more healthful eating habits as a teen is likely to lead to a significant health benefit for that person in adulthood.

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