A recent study investigating the link between dysfunctional family functioning and bad eating habits among family members concluded that dysfunctional families are a cause of higher sugar consumption in search of the ‘feel-good’ effect!
The research led by Queen Mary University in London looked at 1,174 children aged 3 and 4 with their parents and confirmed that the children of functional families were 67% less likely to consume more than 4 intakes of sugary foods and drinks per day than children from less functional families.
Study leader Professor Marcenes believes that a functional family provides comfort and stability , whereas “dysfunctional families are a major source of frustration and stress – and this can lead to high sugar consumption in search of the ‘feel-good’ effect.”
‘Effective family functioning’ was defined as a family which is able to manage daily life and resolve problems in the context of warm and affective family interactions, through clear communication, well-defined roles and flexible behaviour control.
Professor Marcenes: “We live in a very materialistic world but material resources alone cannot fulfil us. We also need to meet our psychological needs. A functional family is a major source of pleasure in life, providing comfort and reward. In contrast, dysfunctional families are a major source of frustration and stress – and this can lead to high sugar consumption in the search for the ‘feel-good’ effect.”
She also added: “It is crucial to understand why we crave for sugar and to identify factors that help people to deal with sugar craving. We need to focus on the wider determinants of health behaviour and lifestyle, such as socio-psychological factors.”