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Managing Family Mealtimes and Eating As a Family at Home Significantly Improves Children’s Nutritional Health


NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia December, 2012 – According to a study published in 2011 by the American Academy of Paediatrics, “The frequency of shared family meals is significantly related to nutritional health in children and adolescents. Children and adolescents who share family meals 3 or more times per week are more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier dietary and eating patterns than those who share fewer than 3 family meals together. In addition, they are less likely to engage in disordered eating.”

The study’s authors, Amber J. Hammons, PhD and Barbara H. Fiese, PhD used meta-analytic methods to examine the frequency of shared family mealtimes in relation to nutritional health in children and adolescents. “The primary objective was to determine consistency and strength of effects across 17 studies that examined overweight and obese, food consumption and eating patterns, and disordered eating,” say Hammons and Fiese.

“We were interested in 3 major public health concerns: obesity, unhealthy eating, and disordered eating. In particular, we examined the effects of sharing 3 or more meals per week versus 1 or none. When study design allowed, we investigated the long-term potential for family meals operating as a protective factor for these health indicators.”

Results from the study suggests that eating as a family may become a protective factor for a number of nutritional health-related problems that persist during childhood and adolescence, which is why the American Academy of Paediatrics recommends establishing family mealtime routines to prevent childhood obesity.

Jo Turner, Mumpreneur and Author of Mealtimes without Mayhem, is no stranger to the difficulties of managing family mealtimes and is on a mission to make it easier for parents Australia-wide to sit down with their kids and eat meals as a family. Jo says, “I realised how many families with children, especially small children, struggled to enjoy a meal together. My passionate belief in the benefits of family mealtimes persuaded me to write a book ‘Mealtimes without Mayhem’ so every family has an opportunity to really enjoy the value and fun of celebrating a meal together.”

In preparation for ‘Mealtimes without Mayhem’, Jo interviewed a variety of psychology, nutrition and parenting experts and Masterchef’s Julie Goodwin and George Calombaris. The book, featured on the TODAY show, is an easy to follow ‘how to’ guidebook to get families to eat together as a way of connecting. Filled with practical solutions such as healthy meal planners and tips on feeding fussy eaters, this will be a valuable resource for any busy parent wanting to ensure their children grow up with healthy habits and lifestyles.

Jo continues, “Mealtimes can be hard to manage and a stressful time for many families so are sometimes avoided but with the right advice and support tools mealtimes can become an enjoyable bonding experience with long term benefits.”

Anna Musson, Author of Etiquette Secrets shares, “The expert advice [in Mealtimes Without Mayhem’ along with a sense of humour helps you to take control of the mayhem and form family traditions that your children will cherish forever. This practical book teaches you to create a routine that works for your family and you will learn to make delicious and cost effective meals that will tempt even the fussiest of eaters.”

To find out more about establishing family mealtime routines and the importance of eating together as a family, grab a copy of ‘Mealtimes Without Mayhem’ today at


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