Is eating as a family related to obesity?
Who hasn't heard of obesity? But who understands why as a nation we are getting larger? This is the million dollar question!
Being overweight is not only affecting the way we feel about ourselves, deciding what clothes we wear, but is also affecting the state of our health and leading to an increased risk of both heart disease, type two diabetes and other health related risks.
Obesity has been thought of as a condition that mainly affects adults. However this is no longer the case. Children are joining the bandwagon of being overweight too.
Why are children getting overweight? Primarily it was thought to be due to a lack of exercise, too many computer games for instance, but are these factors enough to cause the trend?
One factor that has changed over the years is the way a family eats their meals. A family sitting down at the table to eat together is becoming a thing of the past.
However, research suggests that if a family does regularly sit down to eat a meal together, the likelihood is that they will be eating a diet high in fruit and veg with less junk food, sweets and fizzy drinks; that means they typically avoid foods high in fats and sugars.
Television is often watched whilst eating meals and research has shown that those children who watch TV whilst eating are likely to be getting larger. They are probably doing less exercise, but also perhaps these children are too busy watching telly to join in a family meal. It is easier to eat snacks and fast food while watching a screen.
Mums are the backbone of the family. If they make eating together an important part of family life the result may well be leaner family members. Turning off the telly and eating a home-cooked family meal around a table every day could make a difference. The results may not be instant, but meal times may well become more entertaining!
Sarah Scotland (BSc Nutrition, Exercise and Health(Hons) ANutr). Her work interests include: Working within the community; Talks and workshops; Weight loss; Clinics
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