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Study shows longer family meals led to better eating habits for children

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Families may want to savor their meals together. According to a new study in the journal JAMA Network Open, new research finds when families have more time for their meals, children eat more fruits and vegetables.

Researchers followed 50 families with children ages 6 to 11 who ate regular dinners together. They found that when families spent on average 10 additional minutes at the table, children ate significantly more fruits and vegetables.

Healthy eating is critical for children and adolescents for proper growth and development.

Current CDC guidelines recommend eating fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and certain cancers. That healthy diet should include a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, protein foods and oils.

Experts say to limit saturated fats, added sugars, and sodium. Previous studies show most children and adolescents do not follow the recommendations.

In this new study, children who had longer family meals drank more water, but overall kids drank more sugary drinks than water.

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