Family Meals May Help Prevent Eating Disorders In Teenage Girls

Recent research shows that teenage girls who sit down to the dinner table several nights a week with their parents and siblings (or the family members they live with) are less likely to develop an eating disorder. Teenagers both girls and boys need structure and routine in their lives and the family meal is a very important part of that structure. Many experts believe that the family meal is a time of bonding and communicating. It is also a time when a parent(s) can recognize signs of an eating disorder.

Family Meal Study

A study that involved 2500 teenage girls from the ages of 13 to 17 was followed for a five-year period. These teenage girls eat five or more meals a week with their family at the dinner table. Experts strongly discourage against eating in front of the TV or computer, they say the important role is eating together at a table with no distractions.

Family Meal Study Results

It is important to note that the girls in study who eat five or more meals a week with the family these girls learned an appreciation of food and did not view it as an emotional tool, and obtained a healthy relationship with food later in life. The study also showed that the family meal had no effect on teenage boys.


Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes and we encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician if they believe that they have an eating disorder. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

Copyright © 2008-2017
Company Information

© 2017 All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of's terms of service and privacy policy. The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.