Kids who sit down to eat with their families are less likely to be overweight and eat unhealthy foods, according to U.S. researchers who call for more shared meals.In the first report to combine all existing studies on the issue, they found kids who eat with their parents at least three times a week had 12 percent lower odds of being overweight. The children were also 20 percent less likely to eat junk food..
..35 percent less likely to have eating problems like skipping meals or bingeing, and 24 percent more likely to eat vegetables and other healthy foods.
"Sitting down together as a family, there are nutritional benefits from that," said Amber Hammons, a psychologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign, whose findings are published in the journal Pediatrics.
Still, the 17 studies reviewed in the new work were based on observations, not actual experiments, and Hammons acknowledged that they don't prove shared meals trim waistlines.
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