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3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
Date:2/8/2010

Eating together, limiting TV and getting enough sleep cut risk of obesity, study finds,,,,

MONDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- 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 behaviors can have a significant impact on the weight of preschool children. Other behaviors 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 percent 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 pediatricians 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.

Results of the study are scheduled to be published in the March issue of Pediatrics.

The study included a nationally representative sample of 8,550 four-year-old children. One parent of each child answered researchers' questions about the family's routines and behaviors.

From this group of children, 18 percent were considered obese, which means their body mass index (a measurement that includes weight and height) is greater than the 95th percentile when compared to others of their age and gender.

Just 14.5 percent of the children were exposed to all three of the study behaviors on a regular basis: Eating the evening meal as a family five or more nights a week, getting more than 10.5 hours
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