Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Food matters: Does dining en famille really benefit children?

The Times, T2

By Amanda Ursell

It has often been said that the more we eat together as a family, the better adjusted our children will be, and a recent study seems to confirm our suspicions. In an experiment published in the Journal of Adolescent Health that involved nearly 10,000 adolescents, it was found that those who had dinner with their parents six nights out of seven were much less involved in antisocial behaviour, drug and alcohol abuse, smoking, depression and eating disorders than those who didn’t.
Should we be replacing ASBOs with shepherd’s pie with Mum and Dad? No, says Professor Andrew Hill, of Leeds University: “The researchers would probably have found a similar result had they had simply encouraged the same teenagers to spend time with their parents per se, doing anything from playing football to watching television. It is the time together that is valuable, not necessarily the sharing of a meal.”


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