profession

Childhood obesity lower with household routines

Pediatricians are urged to discuss with parents the value of having regular family meals and limiting children's TV.

By Christine S. Moyer — Posted March 1, 2010

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Regular family dinners, adequate sleep and limited television may prevent obesity in preschool-age children, according to a study published online Feb. 8 in Pediatrics.

Researchers found an almost 40% lower prevalence of obesity among 4-year-olds who had regular family dinners at least six times a week, slept a minimum of 10.5 hours each weeknight and watched no more than two hours of television or videos every weekday.

"Pediatricians may want to bring these topics up to the parents of their patients. And parents should think about what it would take to [implement] these routines for their child," said Sarah Anderson, PhD, study co-author and assistant professor of epidemiology at Ohio State University's College of Public Health.

Researchers analyzed data from 8,550 U.S-born 4-year-olds who were assessed in 2005 in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort. The study was conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics to examine the learning environments, health and development of young U.S. children.

More than half of the children were said to have a family dinner at least six nights a week. The study found 57.5% slept 10.5 hours or more each weeknight, and 40.4% watched no more than two hours of TV and videos each weekday.

Researchers said 12.4% of the children lived in homes that practiced none of the routines.

The study found each of the household routines was associated with a significantly lower prevalence of obesity.

In households where all three routines were practiced, 14.3% of the children were obese. In homes with two routines, 15.8% were obese, and the rate was 20.9% in homes with one routine.

About 25% of children were obese in homes with none of the routines.

The prevalence of children's exposure to the routines varied by the child's race, ethnicity, household income and maternal obesity.

"The implication is that these three household routines may be promising behavior targets for obesity prevention," Anderson said. "We know it's going to be harder for some families than others [to implement these], but all families can think about what it would take to have these routines."

Back to top


ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISE HERE


Featured
Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story


Read story

Goodbye

American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story


Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story


Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story


Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story


Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story


Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story


Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story