Gone are the days when your colleagues ask you out and “I want to go home early to have dinner” is a lame excuse. Today, there is much respect and high regard for people, particularly in our office, who resist the urge to render overtime just to have dinner at home. And according to a new European research, we are doing the right thing.
Aside from the fact that eating at home gives you the chance to tailor the nutrients you get, researchers from Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the University of Mannheim, Germany suggests that eating with the family regularly could help kids develop healthy eating habits that they’d hold on to until their adulthood. As a result, the chance of obesity when children become adults is decreased.
“Parents act as ‘nutritional gatekeepers’ in that they have a substantial influence on when, what, and how much children eat. So family meals offer a rich learning environment for setting up healthy eating habits in children,” lead author Mattea Dallacker said.
Published in the journal “Obesity Reviews,” the researchers came up with such conclusions based on 57 studies featuring a total of 203,706 participants from all over the globe. They studied the relationship between family meals and the children’s body mass index (BMI) along with their eating habits and their diet. The team found that frequent family meals result to lower BMI among children of any age group and ethnicity.
The study also suggests that the number of parents present during the meal may also affect children’s mindset towards their diet. Since most parents both work these days, family meals are deemed as a challenge. If that is the case, the researchers also suggest that other communal meals may give positive effect to children’s diet. At school, children may take positive cues from their peers and teachers when eating together.
If you still haven’t developed a habit of eating dinner at home with your family, maybe today is the right time to do it. Clock out on time and go home early, because your family needs (and wants) you more than your work. But if you live independently, why don’t you dine more frequently with your friends. They are your family, too.
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