Less television and more gathering around the dinner table prevents

Jan 31, 2007

Sitting down to a family meal more often and cutting down on television watching can help keep children from becoming overweight, according to a new University of Missouri-Columbia study.

After following 8,000 children from kindergarten to third grade, researchers concluded that kids who watched the most TV were at the greatest risk of being or becoming overweight. Children who ate fewer meals with their families also were at risk for becoming overweight.

"Other research has shown that children who eat meals with their families eat more healthy foods than children who don't eat as many meals with their families," said Sara Gable, associate professor of human development and family studies in the MU College of Human Environmental Studies. "I suspect there are other benefits of family meal times that protect children from developing some of the habits that could lead to weight problems."

The researchers grouped children into three categories to determine the factors associated with becoming overweight: children who were not overweight during kindergarten and first grade but were overweight by the third grade; children who became overweight during kindergarten and stayed that way through the third grade; children who were never overweight.

"Children who were never overweight between kindergarten and third grade were watching, as per parent reports, roughly two hours of television per day, or about 14 hours during a typical week," Gable said. "The children who were persistently overweight were watching about 16 hours of television per week."

Members of the persistently overweight groups also lived in neighborhoods that parents perceived as less safe for outdoor play.

"These results suggest that some overweight children have fewer options for active play when they are at home," Gable said.

Source: University of Missouri-Columbia

Explore further: Pollutants from coal-burning stoves strongly associated with miscarriages in Mongolia

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

School-based interventions for obesity

Jan 06, 2011

Thanks to the Let's Move initiative, society is becoming more aware of alarming statistics like 1 in 4 children are obese and childhood obesity has nearly doubled over the past two decades! With this platform, nutrition ...

NY seeks to ban sugary drinks from food stamp buys

Oct 07, 2010

(AP) -- New Yorkers on food stamps would not be allowed to spend them on sugar-sweetened drinks under an obesity-fighting proposal being floated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. David Paterson.

Recommended for you

High-calorie and low-nutrient foods in kids' TV

11 hours ago

Fruits and vegetables are often displayed in the popular Swedish children's TV show Bolibompa, but there are also plenty of high-sugar foods. A new study from the University of Gothenburg explores how food is portrayed in ...

Chemical companies shore up supplement science

12 hours ago

As evidence mounts showing the potential health benefits of probiotics, antioxidants and other nutritional compounds, more and more people are taking supplements. And the chemical industry is getting in on the action. But ...

More Americans in their golden years are going hungry

12 hours ago

In a country as wealthy as the United States, it may come as a surprise that one in 12 seniors do not have access to adequate food due to lack of money or other financial resources. They are food insecure.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Man among first in US to get 'bionic eye' (Update)

A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision. Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a teenager, Pontz has been almost completely blind for years. Now, thanks to a high-tech procedure ...