The family

People are always asking me for posts about helping with kids and obesity.  And trust me, I struggle with my group as well.  Don’t believe me?  Just read this and you’ll see.

New report came out this week that says that family meals and veggies (this is a duh?) to help curb childhood obesity.

From medscape:

From Reuters Health Information

Family Meals, Vegetables May Keep Kids Trim

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jul 08 – Children who regularly sit down to family meals and get plenty of vegetables in their diet tend to be thinner than their peers without such eating habits, a new study finds.

The results, published online June 18 in the Journal of Pediatrics, may not sound surprising. However, few studies have looked at the relationship between children’s weight and their diet patterns.

And while it is generally believed that sitting down to family dinner is good for kids, there has been little research evidence it keeps them slim.

For the new study, Greek researchers interviewed 1,138 children ages 9 to 13 about their diets and physical activities, and used that information to identify five general diet-and-lifestyle patterns across the group.

One was what they dubbed the “dinner, cooked meals and vegetables” pattern. Children with this pattern had a high intake of vegetables, regularly sat down to family dinner and typically had traditional “cooked” meals (hot or cold) for lunch and dinner, rather than sandwiches, snack foods or “breakfast-like” meals.

Kids who fell into that pattern generally had a lower body mass index (BMI), smaller waistlines and less body fat than their peers who did not fit the diet pattern.

None of the other four diet-and-lifestyle patterns the researchers identified were associated with children’s weight or body-fat levels.

Those patterns included an “unstructured eating, fast food/sugary foods and sedentary lifestyle” pattern, and “high fiber,” “breakfast,” and “exercise, fruits and vegetables” patterns.

It is not clear why those four categories failed to show a link to children’s weight, while the family meal/vegetable pattern did, according to the researchers, who were led by Dr. Mary Yannakoulia of Harokopio University in Athens.

But, they write, the habits of sitting down to family dinner and having cooked meals could signify children who are closely sticking to the traditional Mediterranean diet — one rich in vegetables, olive oil, whole grains and fish.

A key limitation of the study is that it assessed children at one time point. However, Yannakoulia and her colleagues write, the findings suggest that such an eating pattern stands as a “potential preventive approach” to combating childhood obesity. They note that it is also a “non-restrictive” way of eating that most children can live with.


J Pediatr 2010.

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3 Responses to “Veggies, family meals curb childhood obesity”

  1. Hi, Andrea. I don’t know if you are interested but I recently received a blog award and was told to pass it on to my favorite bloggers. Of course, I thought of you. :) If you would like to have it you can pick it up here.


  2. rny_alison says:

    We had sit-down dinners and vegetables every night. I ate too much of the non-veggie things. We also had salad and homemade dessert every night.

  3. MacMadame says:

    We used to be really big on family dinner. Not so much now that the kids are older. I can see it helping, but I think the parents have to eat normally for it to really work. Otherwise, you aren’t showing them what healthy eating and proper portion sizes are.

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