All in the Family: Does Eating Meals with Family Decrease Obesity Risk?

I take a look at two sides on whether family meals can lower the risk of obesity.

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Damn, it’s been awhile since I made a post.  Sometimes, college happens…

It’s been talked about in the field of health and nutrition that eating dinners at home might decrease the risk of developing obesity.  Cornell University’s director of the Food and Brand Lab, Brian Wansink said that where you eat, and how long it takes you to finish eating are indicators of children developing obesity.  This makes sense to me.  You spend five hours in a pizzeria, chances are you are going to eat a lot of pizza, whereas if you eat at home and eat a homecooked meal you are going to eat fewer Calories.

However, a recent article in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (or a journal that has a long title about nutrition, for the less scientifically inclined people) indicated this might not be the case.  Research shows that you are not more or less likely to be obese if you eat with or without your family.  Basically, eating with your family does not necessarily decrease obesity risk.

What does this mean for you?  To start, I think both people are right in their own way.  Where you eat, and how long you eat does impact how many Calories you consume.  Eating at a place where they have unhealthy food for a long time does mean you are more likely to eat unhealthy (unless you have a cast-iron will, unlike me).  However, I think it is also right that eating with family does not necessarily mean you are eating better.

There is a factor to food and nutrition I don’t think either cover very well.  Meal quality.  I can eat a healthy meal that consists of a shitton of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, and lean proteins alone.  I can also eat this when I visit my family.  I also eat a lot of unhealthy foods, because college.  I eat these foods whether I am alone or with my family.

Long story short:  Eat fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole-grains, and healthy oils, and you should be fine.

 

What do my readers think?  Would eating more meals with family reduce obesity, or should we instead be focusing more on what is on the plate?  Leave your comments below.

Author: The Nutrition Punk

Some snarky college student at Oregon State University studying nutrition. Listens to too much rock, heavy metal and other loud music. My goal is to have a place to eliminate some misinformation about nutrition while trying to be funny about it. Note: I am not a doctor, so any advise on this site is not meant to be taken as medical advice.

2 thoughts on “All in the Family: Does Eating Meals with Family Decrease Obesity Risk?”

  1. It depends. If you are eating healthy, well balanced meals as a family and teaching about cooking and nutrition through family meals, then yes. My step-daughter eats a lot of junk throughout the day, despite me providing healthy lunch alternatives. But, I try to put a healthy, hearty, well-balanced meal on the table for dinner each night to set a good example.

    Like

    1. First of all, I think it’s great that you are willing to provide your step daughter with healthy foods during meal time.
      One thing I learned from my Nutrition through the Lifecycle class is that sometimes good enough is good enough. Even if your step daughter eats a lot of junk, if she is still eating the meals you provide, she is still getting the nutrients that are in those foods!

      Liked by 1 person

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