Family Meals and Child Academic and Behavioural Outcomes

Further to this post about emerging evidence that family meals may not be the protective factor we had thought it was when it comes to drug and alcohol use.

Another research paper suggests we may need to be cautious in our assessment of eating together as a crucial element in protecting our children.

The researchers have looked at data provided by 21,400 children aged 5–15 and has controlled for a range of other factors to be able to judge whether frequently eating together as a family has a positive effect on academic and behavioural outcomes (including substance misuse).

They put a number of important caveats around what they find, they point out previous research has found a link, but come to the conclusion.

In sum, despite differences between our study and previous analyses, our results suggest that the findings of previous work regarding FMF [family meal frequency] and adolescent outcomes should be viewed with some caution.

via Family Meals and Child Academic and Behavioral Outcomes – Miller – 2012 – Child Development – Wiley Online Library.

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