The 'ABC recipe' for mealtimes also includes focusing on discipline and communication and can help ease symptoms of asthma, according to a study.
Dr Barbara Fiese, director of the University of Illinois’ Family Resiliency Center, which carried out the research, said: "When children were part of families that 'followed the recipe,' their asthma symptoms were less severe and they were more apt to take their medicine. They also tended to worry less about their symptoms, and they were able to engage more fully in activities at school and after school."
Dr Fiese and her team videotaped 200 families, that included children aged five to 12 with persistent asthma, and observed their actions during family meals. She said the 'recipe' could also help combat other health problems: "Family mealtimes, when they're done right, are linked to many benefits for children, including a reduced risk of substance abuse, eating disorders, and obesity."