A family meal at the table helps hearts

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A Leeds based heart charity and well known TV chef is urging families to sit down together at mealtimes and keep their hearts healthy.

Heart Research UK has joined forces with online furniture retailer MatalanDirect.com to launch a new campaign Together at the Table encouraging families to reap the heart health benefits of sitting down for meals.

A campaign that is backed by TV chef and Heart Research UK ambassador, Sally Bee. Sally suffered three heart attacks when she was 36 with a rare heart condition which threatened her life. Now the 47-year-old, mother-of-three, who appears regularly on ITV’s Lorraine is urging others to take the time to enjoy family mealtimes.

“Mealtimes should not only be for food nourishment and body nourishment, it’s time for family nourishment too. Life is too short not to make the most of your time around the table with your most precious loved ones.”

A survey commissioned by Heart Research and MatalanDirect.com showed, out of the 1,000 respondents, 68 per cent of families in Yorkshire ate a main meal together every day but it was less likely to be around a dining table.

Previous research published in Paediatrics 2011, suggested that good eating habits in children and adolescents can be formed around the family dinner table. It showed those who sat down around a dining table at least three times a week are more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier eating habits, factors which work toward keeping hearts healthy.

Launched to tie in with February’s National Heart Month, the Together at the Table, campaign aims at change mealtime behaviour by encouraging familes to sit down around a table for the good of their loved ones heart health.

Barbara Dinsdale, Heart Research UK Lifestyle Manager said: “We know how difficult it can be for families to make that commitment to eat meals together. But evidence suggests that eating together could offer a simple solution to the nation’s obesity challenge as well as providing a range of wider benefits to family health and wellbeing.”

As well as providing healthy meal plans and downloadable resources on the website, the campaign also includes a competition, asking families to record their experiences eating around a table together for three weeks for the chance to win prizes from MatalanDirect.com.

Chief Operating Officer Andrew Banks, said the campaign tied in with the retailer’s focus on helping families make the most of their home.