New US research has found
that regularly eating breakfast together as a family could help promote a
positive body image for children and teenagers.
researchers at the University of Missouri, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville,
and Washburn University, the new large-scale study included 12,642 students
across the USA who were asked to record how often they ate breakfast, how often
they ate meals with a parent, and their eating habits in general.
The findings, published
in the journal Social Work in
Public Health, showed that just over 50 per cent of students
reported eating breakfast five days a week, and more than 30 per cent reported
eating breakfast less than five times a week. Nearly 17 per cent reported never
eating breakfast and boys were more likely to eat breakfast than girls.
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In addition, the team
also found that children and teens who ate breakfast during the week were more
likely to have a positive body image, especially if they regularly ate
breakfast with a parent.
“We know that
developing healthy behaviour in adolescence such as eating breakfast every day
and eating family meals can have long-term effects into adulthood,” said study
author Virginia Ramseyer Winter, “Children and adolescents are under a lot of
pressure from social media and pop culture when it comes to physical
appearance. Having a healthy relationship with food from eating breakfast and
spending meal time with family might have a significant impact on well-being.”
“We know that the health behaviour of a parent can have long-term
effects on a child,” adds Ramseyer Winter. “Results of this study suggest that
positive interactions with food such as eating breakfast and having family
meals together, could be associated with body image.”