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Family Meals and Eating Disorders

It is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and the subject can't really be contained to one week. When thinking about eating disorders, and frankly getting a little sad about them, I remembered a positive news story I read a while back. There was a study on family meals and eating disorders, that as mother of two girls I found heartening.

Researchers found that sitting down for regular family meals may actually help prevent eating disorders. Girls who ate five or more meals with their families weekly were one third less likely to practice extreme weight control behaviors. Extreme weight control behaviors range from vomiting, taking diet pills and abusing diuretics. Interestingly enough, family meals did not seem to lower unhealthy weight control behaviors like binge eating, smoking or skipping meals. It is important to note that the researchers did say that how the family acts during these meals is important, because they could also promote unhealthy eating habits. Enhancing the meal time atmosphere and saving possibly emotionally loaded topics, like potential prom plans, for other times might promote a healthy relationship with food too.

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