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Family Meals may Help Prevent Eating Disorders in Teenage Girls


Recent research shows that teenage girls who sit down to the dinner table several nights a week with their parents and siblings (or the family members they live with) are less likely to develop an eating disorder. Teenagers both girls and boys need structure and routine in their lives and the family meal is a very important part of that structure. Many experts believe that the family meal is a time of bonding and communicating. It is also a time when a parent(s) can recognize signs of an eating disorder.

Family Meal Study

A study that involved 2500 teenage girls from the ages of 13 to 17 was followed for a five-year period. These teenage girls eat five or more meals a week with their family at the dinner table. Experts strongly discourage against eating in front of the TV or computer, they say the important role is eating together at a table with no distractions.

Family Meal Study Results

It is important to note that the girls in study who eat five or more meals a week with the family these girls learned an appreciation of food and did not view it as an emotional tool, and obtained a healthy relationship with food later in life. The study also showed that the family meal had no effect on teenage boys.