Children who eat their evening meal with their parents are less likely to play truant, according to a new study.
The research, conducted for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), demonstrates that engagement with school and family has a major impact on the likelihood of pupils playing truant.
Some 18 per cent of teenagers play truant in developed countries, the BBC reports. Truancy is more common in the UK than other countries in terms of full school days missed, while it is less common in terms of individual lessons missed.
Areas which performed well in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) education rankings, such as South Korea and Shanghai, have lower than average levels of truancy.
Pupils who skipped lessons were found to achieve lower grades, based on their results in maths tests.
The link between wealth and truancy levels is not clear cut, with no obvious differences in the behaviour of children from rich and poor backgrounds. In countries such as Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, richer youngsters are more likely to play truant.
Engagement with family was found to be a much stronger factor - in more than three quarters of the countries studied, children who have meals with their parents were found to be less likely to play truant.
Other factors affecting levels of absenteeism include good school discipline and teachers who listen to pupils.
Asian countries, including Japan, South Korea and Vietnam, and China's Shanghai and Hong Kong, were found to have the lowest levels of truancy. In Europe, Luxembourg has the lowest levels.
England's education minister Elizabeth Truss said: "We already know that children who attend school regularly are nearly four times more likely to achieve five good GCSEs than those who are regularly absent.
"Getting good maths grades helps young people get good jobs, means they earn more and provides the best protection against unemployment. This is why it is vital children attend as much school as possible."
Posted by Theo Foulds