Keeping dinner all in the family may be a tool in the battle of the bulge.
A study from Cornell University found that children and adults in families
who frequently eat together in the kitchen or dining room weighed less
and had a significantly lower body mass index (BMI), a measure of body
fat based on height and weight.
Staying seated until everyone was finished and eating without the television
on was associated with a lower body mass index, the researchers found.
Eating anywhere other than the kitchen or dining room or eating while
watching television, however, was connected to higher body mass indexes.
Family meals and their rituals might be a tool in the battle to fight obesity,
the researchers said. The social support and family involvement at the
dinner table might steer children and adults away from overeating. Mothers
and fathers who talk meaningfully with children about their day at the
dinner table also have lower BMIs, the study found. Researchers compared
BMIs and family dining rituals of 190 adults and 148 children.
"Families today are so busy with stressful jobs, long commutes and
after school activities that eating a healthy dinner as a family often
doesn't happen," explains
Reshmi Basu, MD, a pediatrician at
St. Joseph Hospital Affiliated Physicians in Tustin. "Our schedules often force us to eat on the go. But it's
clear that putting aside some time to sit down together has physical and
emotional benefits. Family dinners aren't just about giving our bodies
fuel. They are also a great time to connect and talk about the day's
events, and that can be helpful for you and for your children."
For more information about St. Joseph Hospital Affiliated Physicians, click
here. For more information about Dr. Basu, click
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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.