With there being so much done to increase awareness about and prevent childhood obesity, the emphasis seems to be mainly on what adults and schools can do to prevent this widespread problem. However of the things that tends to get overlooked or ignored is the simple solution of the family dinner.
Consider the importance and the power of the basic family structure to influence and guide child behavior and all that is required is some basic healthful ingredients and a kitchen table! Consider the many ways in which the family meal can help and which have been demonstrated to be so by a number of studies
- Regular, daily meals at fixed times can add scheduling and structure to the day of a child, (to say nothing of his or her parents).
- Regular meal times are also associated with better relationships between children and their peers as well as their relationship with adults.
- Not only that, a close knit family unit is also known to yield better academic results and lesser instances of substance abuse, smoking and delinquent behavior.
- Studies have also shown that families who eat home cooked meals are healthier because in these families food choices tend to be more mindful and hence healthier.
- Properly sitting down to a meal at the table may make the option of a unhealthy convenience meal seem less palatable.
- Experts believe that the family meal can have an immediate and very significant impact on childhood obesity rates.
Though there are all of these very significant benefits to the family meal, it is admittedly difficult to accomplish every day.
It can help if there were more policies in place that made this possible – giving parents the wherewithal to cook at home, letting them get home at a same time each day that makes it possible to cook dinner and eat it together.