Something as simple as sitting down to dinner together as a family can go a long way in helping a child fend off obesity.
That's just one of the findings from new research that suggests that family behaviours can have a significant impact on the weight of preschool children. Other behaviours that may help youngsters stay slim include getting adequate sleep and limiting time in front of the TV.
"Four-year-olds who regularly ate dinner with the family, got enough sleep and watched less than two hours of TV a day were 40% less likely to be obese," said the study's lead author, Sarah Anderson, an assistant professor of epidemiology in the College of Public Health at Ohio State University in Columbus.
"One of the things that's potentially useful about recommending these routines, if they're suggested as part of obesity-prevention counseling, is that they may have other benefits, too. And, for paediatricians and other clinicians, we don't have easy, effective treatments for obesity in children, so it's very important to try to prevent obesity," said Anderson.
How the study was done
Results of the study are scheduled to be published in the March issue of