If you want your teen to have a positive view of their body, new research suggests you should start with a good breakfast around the kitchen table – together.
While many experts disagree about the role breakfast plays in overall health, this new study from the University of Missouri says that consistently eating breakfast as a family might be able to promote positive body image for children and adolescents. The findings were published in the journal Social Work in Public Health in March.
Survey data was analyzed from more than 12,600 students in more than 300 schools in all 50 states plus Washington D.C., and it included information on eating behaviors including frequency of eating breakfast and eating meals with parents.
“We know that developing healthy behaviors in adolescence such as eating breakfast every day and eating family meals can have long-term effects into adulthood,” said Virginia Ramseyer Winter, assistant professor in the School of Social Work and director of the MU Center for Body Image Research and Policy.
“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.”
According to the data, eating breakfast during the week was more frequently associated with a positive body image. Over half the participants reported eating breakfast five days a week, but 17 percent reported never eating breakfast and 30 percent reported eating breakfast fewer than five times per week. Additionally, the research found that boys were more likely to actually eat breakfast than girls.
“We know that the health behaviors of a parent can have long-term effects on a child,” Ramseyer Winter said. “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.”
Researchers from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Washburn University also contributed to the study.
You can see the abstract and access the full study here.
For more research news, click here. Click here to see 5 Ways Family Meals Can Help Create A Healthier & Happier Child.