Family Meals Boost Children’s Mental Health

Benefits of eating with familyAlthough it’s wonderful to gather around the table for a holiday meal, this shouldn’t be the only time of year that you do so. According to a recent study, we should be engaging in family meals on a regular basis. Doing so can greatly benefit your children’s mental health.

What does this study actually have to say?
A research study that was co-authored by Linda Pagani and Marie-Josée Harbec from the Université de Montréal in Canada shows that young children who eat meals with their family have better social skills and overall health ask compared to those children who don’t eat meals with their family. This study has since been published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. It’s important to note that this isn’t the first study of its kind.

In 2011 another study was published showing that children who eat at least three meals per week with their families are less likely to become overweight than those who don’t. Pagani believes that this study ends though like it has some shortcomings mainly because they didn’t look at whether the family was healthier overall. This is something that Pagani kept in mind while working with her colleagues in performing a longitudinal analysis that looked at how families who ate meals together on a regular basis had positive effects on their children’s physical and mental health.

How can you help your children improve their fitness and social skills?
Pagani’s researchers included data from close to 1,500 children who participated in this study. These children were born in 1997 or 1998 and had been part of this study since they weren’t five months old. On the children’s 6th birthday, the parents reported how frequently they ate meals together as a family. This information was assessed once again when the children turned ten years old.

Harbec believes that any pre-existing conditions that would have skewed the study’s results Were eliminated because researchers had a lot of information about these children. Therefore, Harbec believes that this was an ideal study.

What else does Pagani have to say about this research?
The researchers that were involved in this study truly believe that when parents eat meals together with their children, it gives the children the opportunity to engage in social interaction. This allows the child time to discuss what happened during their day and any issues or concerns they may be dealing with. When given the opportunity to engage in this type of positive communication, children become better equipped with people and communication skills. Therefore, it’s believed that the study proves that family meals have long-term effects on children’s mental health.

This study’s researchers believe that this is important information now that many children typically eat their meals in front of the TV. The study can be used to argue that children need to eat with their families. Such information is quite timely, considering that today’s families are being torn in many different directions. Therefore, Pagani believes that it’s time to create new ads showing the positive impact family meals have on children’s mental health.

Some professionals still argue that while enjoying a family meal is beneficial to your mental health, there are still other factors at play here. This is because we’re dealing with quite a complex subject with many different variables unique to each person. It’s important to take all of these things into consideration when you’re working to create great mental health for yourself and your family. Family meals are only the beginning. If you need help with these practices, contact us at the TMS Advantage Clearwater in Clearwater, FL, today.

Picture Credit: Freepik

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *