There’s new research that suggests teenagers who eat breakfast with their parents have a better chance of developing a positive body image. Parents who want to raise children who are secure about their bodies and their appearance simply have to eat breakfast with them, either during the weekdays or on the weekends. The study was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
According to Science Daily, eating breakfast as a family has many different benefits. Not only is it a great way for parents to bond with their children, but it also helps develop self-confidence about themselves. They key, however, is consistency.
Researchers collected and analyzed data from more than 12,000 students in 300 schools all across the nation. They looked at their eating behaviors and compared it to the frequency of how often the students ate breakfast and other meals with their parents. They found that eating breakfast just one morning per week helped boost a positive self-image in kids.
About half of the students reported that they ate breakfast at least five times a week while about 17 percent said that they never eat breakfast before going to school at all. The research also noted that boys were more likely to eat breakfast than girls. The research also said that the health behavior of a parent had a huge impact on both young boys and girls.
Virginia Ramseyer Winter, assistant professor in the School of Social Work and director of the MU Center for Body Image Research and Policy, says that family meals, whether they are in the morning, afternoon, or in the evening, can have long-term effects into adulthood.
Winter said, “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."
Winters added that when parents have positive reactions and even interactions with food, their children are not only paying attention to it but also copying their parents’ behavior. That's why it's imperative that parents eat wholesome and healthy meals that include plenty of protein, fruits, and vegetables with their kids as a family.
The study is part of a new program at the Center for Body Image Research and Policy at the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences.
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