Family meals can protect against obesity

Posted on October 8, 2014

Public health experts say that over a third of all adult Americans are obese. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity now affects 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States – triple the rate from just one generation ago. The quest to protect teens from obesity may be a simple as ensuring they sit down with the family for several meals a week.

For the research on whether frequent family meals during adolescence were protective for overweight and obesity in adulthood., Jerica M. Berge, Ph.D., M.P.H., and colleagues from the University of Minnesota and Columbia University used data from a 10-year longitudinal study (2,287 subjects).

Among adolescents who reported that they never ate family meals together, 60 percent were overweight and 29 percent were obese at the 10-year follow-up.

Researchers found that even having as few as one or two family meals a week during adolescence, were significantly associated with reduced odds of overweight or obesity at the 10-year follow-up compared with those reporting never having had family meals during adolescence.

Researchers believe the study finding give health care providers and public health workers another tool to share with parents in the fight against obesity.

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Source material from Psych Central