Source: Science Daily
Researchers studied 259 parents who were also patients at either The Ohio State University or Wake Forest University accredited weight management and bariatric surgery facilities. They found parents who had better family communication and lower discouragement about trying to improve their eating habits were more likely to participate in family meals.
"It's important to note all family members in the home have influence," lead study author Keeley J. Pratt, Ph.D., The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA, said of the findings that any family member can influence the adoption and maintenance of healthy behaviors in the home. "Even if someone doesn't have the most power to influence the family (like children), they are all influencing each other."
While open communication with children about health is beneficial, "it's important to ensure communication directly about children's weight is not harmful in their development of a healthy body image and behaviors. That includes older children and adolescents who are at greater risk of developing eating disorders and disordered eating behaviors," Professor Pratt said.
There was no significant difference between male and female children in this study other than families with female children were more likely to eat dinner together without a television five to seven times a week. Families with younger children, regardless of gender, were more likely to eat family dinners and breakfasts together, and parents of older children were more likely to talk about their weight with the child.