Call us free on 0800 862 0373

Sign in to view your quotes
Email address:
Password or PIN:

Forgotten your password? Reset it here.

Eat meals as a family to improve your child's diet

Published on 21/12/2012

Eating meals as a family helps children get their recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day, according to a new study.

Government recommends eating a minimum of 5 a day

The new study looked at just under 2,400 children at 52 primary schools in south London to find out how family mealtimes affect children’s eating habits.

Parents and fieldworkers created food diaries at school and at home and ticked off all the foods and drinks a child had in one 24-hour period.

Parents were also asked questions about their attitude to fruit and vegetables, for example "On average, how many nights a week does your family eat at a table?" and "Do you cut up fruit and vegetables for your child to eat?"

The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, found that 656 families said they always ate meals together at a table. 768 said they sometimes did, but 92 families never did.

Researchers found that children in the “always” group ate five portions of fruit and veg, compared with 4.6 in the “sometimes” group and 3.3 in the “never”. In total, the “always” group ate 125g more fruit and veg a day than the “never” group, and the “sometimes” group ate 95g more a day.

Meaghan Christian, who conducted the study as part of her PhD, said: "Modern life often prevents the whole family from sitting round the dinner table, but this research shows that even just Sunday lunch round the table can help improve the diets of our families."

Study authors concluded that intake of fruit and veg was boosted when children saw their parents eating it with them.

Professor Janet Cade, of the University of Leeds' school of food science and nutrition, who supervised the study, said: "Watching the way their parents or siblings eat and the different types of food they eat is pivotal in creating children's own food habits and preferences."

She added: "Since dietary habits are established in childhood, the importance of promoting the family meal needs to be more prominent in public health campaigns."

The government recommends that everyone eats a minimum of five 80g portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Portion sizes can be hard to visualise, but the Department of Health says that the following constitutes a single portion:

  • One handful of blackberries
  • Two spears of broccoli
  • One medium onion
  • 14 button mushrooms
  • Two handfuls of fresh raspberries
  • One medium tomato or seven cherry tomatoes

If you need motivation for eating your five-a-day, you may benefit from medical insurance policy like PruHealth’s Vitality Scheme. PruHealth customers collect 10 Nectar points for every £1 spent on healthy food in Sainsbury’s, from a list of over 1,500 products. Customers are also awarded 1 Vitality point for every £2 spent. The more Vitality points collected, the bigger the rewards, with get discounts on things like cinema tickets and Caribbean cruises.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012

Categories:  Health
Eat meals as a family to improve your child's dietEating meals as a family helps children get their recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day, according to a new study. Government re    tweet it on twittershare with your friends on Facebookshare with your friends on MySpaceBlog it on your LinkedIn profile

No.1 health insurance broker as rated by customers

Very helpful and polite and always try their best to obtain the best quotes. Have been using them for the last 3 years and will continue to use them in the future.

Review centre member

A great service from the initial call, to finalising the agreement. I would highly recommend to my family and friends.

Review centre member

Proactive, efficient, and offered me insurance I need. I would say half price I would end up paying if I did it by myself. Many thanks.

Review centre member

Excellent service. Explained everything in detail and really helped to find the right insurance best suited to my needs - which wasn't necessarily the most expensive. 

Review centre member

Good value and the advisor was very helpful and recommended the best policy for my grandson. I would definitely use this service again and recommend to others.

Review centre member

We were contacted in good time to make a knowledgable choice. We were given plenty of options with lots of information to enable us to make the right choice.

Review centre member

The service I received was excellent, the staff member was very efficient and knowledgable. She went out of her way to get the best policy for me.

Review centre member

Great service. I really appreciated the help provided by Active Quote to arrange health insurance. The agent was very informative and proactive. Many thanks!

Review centre member

I received excellent care and attention from the first phone call till the last. Friendly, efficient and patient.

Review centre member

Staff are very helpful, friendly and polite. They call back when they say they will and keep you up to date with progress. Pleasure to deal with.

Review centre member
This site is operated by Insurance Broker ActiveQuote Ltd registered in England & Wales company number 6765845.
Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Firm reference number 501109 as detailed on the Financial Services Register. Please read our Key Facts document.
For information about your rights as a consumer visit Citizens Advice.

Our insurance comparison service is free and easy for you to use, but you are responsible for making sure all your information is entered correctly, and for choosing your insurer.

This site uses cookies in order to work correctly - these are not harmful and do not contain personal information. By using this site you consent to this. I understand  Tell me more

please wait ...