Tags: Obesity | family | meals | obesity | overweight

Family Meals Stave Off Obesity: Study

By    |   Friday, 03 October 2014 02:22 PM

Family dinners may have gone the way of the 8-track tape, as many parents and children lead increasingly busy lives that leave little time gathering everyone around the kitchen table for an evening meal. But a new study suggests the trend away from family dining may be a key contributor the nation’s ever-expanding waistline.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota and Columbia University found that family meals may be protective against obesity because coming together for meals may provide “opportunities for emotional connections among family members, the food is more likely to be healthful, and adolescents may be exposed to parental modeling of healthful eating behaviors.”
The study, scheduled for publication in the Journal of Pediatrics, also found family meals tend to include more fruits, vegetables, calcium, and whole grains — often missing from meals eaten away from home, from fast-food restaurants, or consumed on the go. The findings are based on an analysis of information from a 10-year study that tracked the dining habits and weight of 2,287 adolescents.
They showed that 51 percent of the participants were overweight and 22 percent were obese. Among those who reported that they never ate family meals together, 60 percent were overweight and 29 percent were obese. But those who reported having even one or two family meals a week during adolescence were markedly less likely to be overweight or obese than those who said they never had family meals during adolescence.
"It is important to identify modifiable factors in the home environment, such as family meals, that can protect against overweight/obesity through the transition to adulthood," said lead researcher Jerica M. Berge.
“Informing parents that even having one or two family meals per week may protect their child from overweight or obesity in young adulthood would be important."

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Family dinners may help combat obesity, according to new research that suggests parents and children who dine together at least once a week tend to eat healthier meals and are less overweight than those who don't.
family, meals, obesity, overweight
Friday, 03 October 2014 02:22 PM
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