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Family Mealtimes Reduces Child Obesity

Researchers have found that by simply spending twenty minutes at the table for a family meal can reduce the chances of a child becoming obese.

Dr Barbara Fiese, from University of Illinois, said: “Children whose families engaged with each other over a 20-minute meal four times a week weighed significantly less than kids who left the table after 15 to 17 minutes.  Over time, those extra minutes per meal add up and become really powerful.”

From a study of 200 family mealtimes, testing the cumulative effects of socioeconomic factors and mealtime behaviours of families with children in primary school, they found that families who considered shared mealtimes important were less likely to have an obese child.  It also found that families who talked and positively interacted together at mealtimes were more likely to have healthy-weight children.

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