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HealthExtra: Making meals a family affair

You may often think nothing you say or do gets through to your teenager but—surprise!—you’re wrong. Teens who eat meals with their families are more likely to retain good eating habits, consume more fruits and vegetables, get more nutrients and drink fewer soft drinks, says research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Teenagers who were surveyed and said they had seven or more meals a week at home with their families were questioned again about their eating habits at age 20. Researchers found that these young adults ate more servings of fruits and vegetables a day than those who never ate with their family as teens. They were also more likely to eat breakfast and dinner and place a high priority on meal structure and social eating. The study concluded that family meals give parents the chance to expose teens to healthful food choices and to model healthy eating habits.