Having lunch or dinner with the entire family is always an enriching experience. It could also be much healthier than eating alone, especially if you are a teenager. A study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology says that teenagers and young adults are less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases if they dine with their family.
Researchers, who conducted the study, analyzed over 14,000 teenagers over a period of 4 years and concluded that kids who dine with their family have a BMI (Body Mass Index) four percentile points lower than kids who eat alone. Kids who eat with at least one family member also were less likely to suffer from high cholesterol and blood pressure. Analysis of eating habits, BMIs and the weight was conducted to provide support for the study.
The reason behind this phenomenon could be that the food served during family meals is far more nutritious compared to the food kids eat when they are out with friends or when they are alone. Talking to the Boston Globe, Dr. Michael Koury, pediatrician at the Hospital for sick children in Toronto, noted that it is imperative for teenagers to develop a nutritious eating habit to avoid future health problems. Eating with family is the best way to increase the likelihood of teenagers following that habit. “Cardiovascular risk factors track into adulthood. Kids who have problems are far more likely to have problems as adults”, he said.
Another research conducted to examine the association between family meals and high-risk behaviours found that kids are less likely to indulge in substance abuse or other risky behaviours when they dine with their family. The study analyzed over 100,000 kids and teenagers and concluded that having meals with family acts as an developmental factor for the kids and curtails them from participating in any potentially harmful behaviour.