Importance of Family Meals with Adolescents

Did you know that family meals have a great impact on your children becoming overweight? When families have dinner together at home, they tend to eat more fruits and vegetables. When younger kids eat healthy dinners with their families, they are less likely to become overweight. By practicing dining at home with fresh cooked meals at the dinner table, the child will most likely start making better healthy choices as they become older. If a parent is constantly buying fast food for their child, they will only demand fast food over time.
Two cross-sectional, direct observational studies examining interpersonal dynamics at family meals with overweight children found that families with an obese child had difficulties with interpersonal dynamics during the family meal time, such as managing family members emotions, interpersonal involvement, parental discipline, and role division during family meals as compared to family with non-overweight children.
Here are some key points to induce great family dinners:
  • Make it enjoyable. Leave the serious discussions for another time. Family meals are for nourishment, comfort, and support.
  • Use the crock pot. Put everything together before leaving for work in the morning. You’ll come home to the delicious smell of a cooked meal.
  • Avoid portion distortion. Keep serving sizes under control, whether you’re at home or eating out.
  • Get the family involved. Let kids help prepare meals and set the table.
  • Keep it simple. Family meals don’t have to be elaborate. Work salads and vegetables into meals. Focus on familiar favorites!


Posted by: SSG


Are Americans Complacent About Obesity?

Are people today more complacent about being overweight or obese?

Tis the season for dieting and a recent study reported that fewer Americans are on a diet. With obesity rates in this country at an all-time high, are attitudes and perceptions of being overweight shifting? In 2012, approximately 20% of adults were on a diet, down from 31% in 1991. Women account for the largest decline down from 34% to 23%. So, just what has happened in the last 20 years?
Some of you may be thinking, ‘attitudes have shifted to greater acceptance of our bodies’ or ‘people are not trying to deprive themselves anymore’. One could speculate that rather than dieting, people are making lifestyle changes and eating healthy, not using the word ‘diet’. Although those ideas have sound reasoning, we must remember that this country is facing a major obesity problem. 
If the new dieting statistics were paralleled with a lower percent of overweight citizens- I’d be happy! But let’s face it- more than 65% of Americans are overweight and that number has only been climbing. To put it in perspective, you get on an elevator and ride up with 10 people. Theoretically, at least 6 of them are overweight or obese. In fact, you might not be able to squeeze that many overweight people on the elevator. Anyway.  
So what does the increase in obesity and the decrease in dieting mean for Americans?
   Expectations for results
o   People might be giving up on weight loss because the results are not dramatic. When they don’t lose 5 pounds a week, they give up after 2 months. 
   Attitudes of being overweight
o   People might view being overweight as less unattractive. Sorry for the double negatives: people might NOW be more attracted to overweight individuals
   Lazy or Complacent
o   People might be less active and less likely to take an interest in their health. Sedentary + chronic junk food consumption = status quo in US.
We are certainly not blaming anyone that is overweight to being lazy. It’s just interesting to look at the paradigm of lifestyle choices and the statistics as a result of this shift. People’s habits, therefore thoughts are changing. Unfortunately, the cost is far reaching beyond the attraction of other individuals. I’m referring to the $190.2 billion total healthcare cost estimated for obesity.
So, do you agree that perceptions are changing? What do you think of people in your communities and social circles- are people around you still dieting? We want to hear from you!   sls

To learn more:
NPD Study 
American Heart Assoc.