Beyond reducing plate size and counting calories, there may be another strategy for keeping the family at a healthy weight: eating together at the dinner table. Families who eat together without the television on and stay seated until everyone has finished have children with lower weight and body mass index (BMI) than those who don’t, reports a behavioral economist in an issue of Obesity.
Strong, positive socialization skills during dinners possibly replace the need to overeat, the researchers explain. Also, the ritual of where one eats and how long one eats seems to be the largest driver.
Families who eat while watching television can be heavier, the researchers noted. In fact, eating anywhere other than the kitchen or dining room was related to higher BMIs in both parents and in children.
By focusing on family dining rituals, this research departs from the more food-centric approaches. Family meals and their rituals might be an underappreciated battleground to fight obesity.Resource: OnFitness Magazine