wellbeing-brand-logo

Inspired living

Eating mindfully affects children positively


Mother and daughter preparing dinner

Credit: 123RF

Mindfulness is well proven as a healthier way to live and we report on it in this column frequently. It makes sense that living in the moment and with awareness you will make better life decisions but what about the impact living mindfully has on those around you? Specifically in a new study researchers decided to see what effect parents who eat mindfully might have on their children.

There is ample evidence from other research that lack of positivity and attention to concerns from parents is linked to weight gain in children.

To test this the researchers had 60 families eat meals while being videotaped. Half of the families were subjected to the sound of a loud vacuum cleaner in an adjacent room for 15 minutes while they were eating. The families were told cleaners would be arriving to clean up a popcorn spill from an earlier event. The other half of the families experienced no distractions.

For all subjects measurements were taken including BMI, food consumption, action, behaviour, mealtime communication, and critical communication.

Interestingly the effects of being distracted by noise were more marked for parents than children. The adults got up and down from the table a lot more when they were distracted and made far fewer positive comments. The distracted parents also paid less attention to children’s concerns in conversation when they were distracted. There is ample evidence from other research that lack of positivity and attention to concerns from parents is linked to weight gain in children.

According to the researchers parents who are distracted and getting up and down from a meal are not able to pay attention to their children’s emotions or even to model responding to your own hunger cues.

The flip side of these findings is that adults who do eat mindfully will be spreading a ripple of positive effects through their family.



 

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.