There’s A Simple Way To Help Shape Body Image Views

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.

Research says there is a simple way to promote healthy body image at home

Study Methodology

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.”

Study Results

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.



  1. I think that is a great study. I feel it’s important to spend as many meals together as a family, for promoting overall mental well-being.

  2. Great tips and it must work! We eat dinner as a family at least 5 out of the 7 nights per week – or every chance we get. Promoting a positive body image was never an issue for my kids when they were younger. Maybe because, as you said, eating together as a family helped promote a positive body image for them. My kids still love to eat healthy, and I never have had to push it on them. They’re in their 20’s.

  3. I always try to empower my kids. I do not like casting my personal self issues to my girls. I have a toxic mother and do not want to be like her.

  4. I think having meals together as a family is so important! When I was growing up, we had dinner together every night. It was harder for breakfast because of work schedules. Eating at least one meal together is a tradition I will for sure continue when I have a family!

  5. This is an interesting study, I wonder why eating breakfast together makes a difference. I also wonder if the parents’ weight and body image have anything to do with it. I always prefer to eat breakfast alone since I’m not really a morning person. My kids ate breakfast together, but I usually didn’t eat with them. We always ate dinner together though.

  6. I think this is such an important topic. I know eating breakfast is such an important part too, and I’ve been working on eating healthier for breakfast especially.

  7. My children are grown, but we still find time to eat dinner as a family. It is does not only promote healthy eating, but it also provides a chance to bond together and foster positivity and confidence among ourselves.

  8. I only recently discovered the relation between family meals and body image. I should’ve realized this by my view of myself since I’ve gain weight.

  9. A good breakfast around the kitchen table – together with the whole family is a must even it’s only for 10 minutes. It’s the most beautiful part!

  10. When my kids start going to school, I am going to make it a point to really eat breakfast together as a family. Even if we have to wake up earlier than we’d actually like!

  11. This is so important for girls. And guys, too! And having time together in the morning instead of rushing is a great idea!


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