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Posts Tagged ‘improving nutriton’

Duplicate Image - RemovedIs your family spending enough time at the dinner table? I know if your family is anything like ours many nights are challenging between sports, meetings and other activities. But, new research out of the University of Illinois is studying the benefits of what a few extra minutes can do for health.
Researchers at the University of Illinois studied 200 family mealtimes and found a correlation between children’s weight and mealtime behaviors. Families who regularly sat down for family meals were more likely to have children with healthy weights than those whose mealtimes were shorter or who didn’t eat as a family at all.
Children in families that ate as a family at least four times per week for 20 minutes at a time weighed significantly less than the children of families who left the table after 15 to 17 minutes. In other words a few minutes, even as few as 3 to 5 minutes, may be able to make a big benefit in children’s health.
According to Barbara Fiese, director of the University of Illinois’ Family Resiliency Program the factors that seem to be critical here are communication and the importance of scheduled mealtimes. These families who spent more days and time shared that the mealtimes were an important part of their family life and had a special meaning for them. Families who interacted more and had positive interactions were more likely to have children with normal weight.
Of course many other factors may be barriers and challenges, but making an attempt to sit together four times weekly should be a goal for families who are looking for an easy way to be healthier in 2013.
The researchers looked at lower-income families who had a more difficult time purchasing healthy food due to access. Even families with those issues showed a significant difference in weight when sitting at the table more often and for at least 20 minutes.
So what could those extra 3 to 5 minutes four times a week do? Children who are at a healthier weight may have a reduced chance of acquiring high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and joint problems. Aren’t a few extra minutes worth such a great chance of improvement of health? Who will miss those extra 12 to 20 minutes a week? Let’s all make it a priority and test this out in our home laboratory.
Author: Liz Smith, Program Specialist SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension.
Reviewed by: Cheryl Barber Spires, Program Specialist SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension
SmartBrief for Nutritionists, Medical Daily. Jan. 2013

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