Mobile phones on the table: less healthy meals
Families in which parents leave their children to use electronic devices during meals, both mobile phones as tablets or music players, have a less healthy diet that those who take advantage of that moment of the day to talk or share experiences
This is what emerges from a study by the Center for Research for the Promotion of Children and Family Health of the University of Minnesota (United States) whose results published in its latest issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. .
For years, experts have been recommending turn off the TV during meals but now, with the arrival of mobile phones and other electronic devices, children and adolescents have Other entertainments that parents have to deal with at lunchtime.
The use of electronic devices during meals is common in families with adolescents, but the Setting standards to limit their use can have various benefits.
During the study, more than 1,800 parents were surveyed to find out how often your teenage children they watched television, talked on the phone, played or listened to music with headphones during family meals.
They also asked the parents if establish norms on the use of these devices and the importance they gave to family meals. For their part, the children also underwent another questionnaire to know the level of communication with their parents.
Two out of three parents said that their teenage children watched television during meals family once and up to one in four said that it was a usual habit.
The use of mobile phones, music players or tablets was less common during meals but not so much earlier, as recognized by 18 to 28 percent of parents. Further, three out of four parents say they set limits when using these devices during the meal.
Girls use them more
The girls were more prone to use electronic means that children and its use increased with age. It is also more common among families with parents of lowest educational level.
What was striking was that, among the parents who admitted a more habitual use of electronic devices, there was a lower consumption of salads, fruits, vegetables, juices and milk and, on the other hand, they drank more sugary drinks.
The study did not ask parents if they also used cell phones and other devices at meals, but in any case, the study shows how dispensing with new technologies serves to strengthen family communication and improve nutrition.
And is that using electronic media at meals is not all bad (for example, a movie night once in a while with dinner) but it is true that his absence helps to spend time with the family.