Herald Sun (Aust) April 18, 2008
YOUNG kids who don’t eat regular family meals and do watch lots of TV are more likely to be overweight, a new study has found. And if they gain weight by grade 3 in primary school, they are likely to never lose it, the US study of 8500 children shows. Family meals and TV-watching in kinder, prep and grade 1 are a better indicator of obesity than the amount of exercise the child does and their use of local parks, the findings show. Australian experts say the results are the same here, with obesity levels rising. A recent report found that a quarter of families no longer eat together regularly.
The US study, published in the latest Journal of the American Dietetic Association, found children are particularly sensitive to weight gain between the ages of five and seven which is likely to plague them for life. Every hour of TV watched and every meal not eaten together as a family raises the chance of obesity.
….”Being overweight among this age group tracks notably into adulthood,” lead author Sara Gable says. “Preparing meals at home provides an opportunity for parents and children to consider food preferences and plan menus, allows for conversation about the day, and creates a setting for adults to model healthful attitudes towards food and eating.”