Many young people struggle with excess weight. Almost 1
in 3 children ages 5 to 11 is considered to be overweight or obese. Weighing too much increases the chances that young people will develop some health problems — now and later in life.
A study in the journal Pediatrics shows that sharing regular family meals improves children’s nutrition, reduces the risk of childhood obesity, and encourages healthy eating habits.
The results show children and adolescents who share at least three family meals per week are more likely to be a healthy weight and less likely to have disordered eating (an early sign of potential eating disorders) than those who shared mealtimes less frequently.
Overall, families that eat five or more meals together have children who are 25% less likely to encounter nutritional health issues than children who eat less than or equal to one meal with their families. Shared family meals seem to operate as a protective factor for overweight, unhealthy eating, and disordered eating, helping children build important habits for later life.
As a parent or other caregiver, you can do a lot to help your child reach and maintain a healthy weight. Healthy eating and physical activities are necessary for your child’s well-being.
Sit down together for dinner tonight and take an important step to help your child – and your whole family – learn healthy habits that last a lifetime.
Dr. Adeyeri is a board-certified and fellowship-trained laparoscopic, bariatric and general surgeon and serves as medical director of the Institute for Weight Loss at Raritan Bay Medical Center. The Institute provides individualized medical and surgical solutions and support for individuals seeking weight loss, including nutrition and lifestyle counseling. For more information or to attend a free bariatric surgery seminar, call 855.TIME.4.ME.
With locations in Perth Amboy and Old Bridge, New Jersey, Raritan Bay Medical Center delivers critical world-class healthcare services care to Monmouth and Middlesex County residents. As providers of first-class healthcare in the areas of stroke, cardiology, cancer, physical rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, pediatric medicine, Raritan Bay Medical Center continues to stay on the forefront of medicine.
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