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US study reveals family meals could affect child obesity levels

Research carried out the University of Minnesota has indicated that children who eat meals in a negative, chaotic atmosphere are more likely to be obese or overweight than those who eat meals with their family in a positive environment.

The researchers had determined that there is a connection between child obesity and family meals, but wanted to discover which characteristics were responsible for the affect. The team filmed 120 families at meal times, using an iPad to record what type of food was consumed, how long the meals lasted, how family members interacted, and the connection between the weight of children and these factors.

According to the study’s results, children who were a normal weight were more likely to eat meals with their families, with both parents offering positive reinforcement and all members of the family having fun at meal times. Kids who ate alone were found to be more likely to be obese or overweight.

If parents discussed problems at mealtime or lectured the children, this was also found to affect their weight. The length of time spent eating as a family was also discovered to have an impact, as those who spent more time eating a meal together were more likely to be a healthy weight.

There are many factors that could have an impact on a child’s weight, including the food they eat at school. For many schools in the UK, it is important to offer healthy tuckshop foods. Tyne and Wear faculties are among those that are introducing the initiative.

Posted by Jennifer
October 20, 2014

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