What with Michelle Obama’s war on childhood obesity, it’s good to discover, finally, how parents can best help their children control their weight.
Strangely enough, it does not involve Michelle Obama’s efforts to nudge schoolchildren to eat healthier by banning supposedly unhealthy foods.
There’s a lot more to maintain a proper weight than dieting, an obsession that probably does more harm than good.
The solution to obesity: more family dinners.
The New York Times reports:
Teenagers who eat dinner with the family two or three times a week may reduce their risk for obesity in young adulthood.
Researchers surveyed the eating habits of 2,287 girls and boys in their teenage years, and then followed up 10 years later, when 51 percent were overweight and 22 percent were obese.
After controlling for sex, age, race, socioeconomic status and initial body mass index, they found that, compared with those who never had family meals, those who ate with their family three to four times a week were about half as likely to be overweight. Even having one or two meals with the family was protective, reducing the risk by about 33 percent. The study appeared in The Journal of Pediatrics.
Note well: children who have regular family dinners take the habit with them into adulthood.
As always, it’s not about a set of blinding insights into how you were weaned, but about developing good habits.
You will recall—probably you would rather have forgotten it—that the last time we were all debating family dinners, a certain number of malcontented mothers were complaining that they did not want to make dinner, did not like making dinner and felt that it was unjust that they should be burdened with the task.
Perhaps the new study will motivate them. And perhaps it will motivate other people to attempt to control their weight by eating with others, with family, in a group… as you like it.
Diet or no diet, eating alone is not good for your health.