According to the researchers from the School of nutrition at the University of Leeds (UK), daily family dinners teach children to consume the required amount of fruit and vegetables. It is reported by the ABC magazine with reference to the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.
In order to estimate the true state of affairs with the consumption of fruit and vegetables in British families, Megan Christian and her colleagues have conducted two studies involving 2383 schoolchildren (their average age is 8.3 years) from 52 schools in London.
During the first study, the researchers asked the children’s parents and teachers to record all the foods that the kids ate during 24 hours as well as their amount. In the second study, the researchers asked the children’s parents about eating habits in their families, including the availability and frequency of joint family lunches or dinners.
According to the results of the first study, the children consume an average of 293 grams of fruit and vegetables a day, which equals about 3.7 out of 5 meals recommended by doctors, who are tirelessly repeating that cellulose is the foundation of a healthy diet. Only 37 percent of schoolchildren received the required number of fruit and vegetables five times a day. According to the results of the second study, the children were divided into two groups: the first group consisted of the children, whose family meals were a tradition, and the second group consisted of the children whose family members ate separately. The results showed that the children in the first group received on average 125 grams of fruit and vegetables more than the children from the second group. This corresponds to approximately 1.6 meals.
The authors of the study urge parents to organize family lunches and dinners as often as possible, since this tradition is really able to develop the kid’s healthy eating behavior. The researchers emphasize that each person’s eating habits are formed in childhood, and it is extremely difficult to change them later.