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Family meals, adequate sleep and limited TV may lower childhood obesity
Date:2/8/2010

o State University and lead author of the study.

Anderson co-authored the paper with Robert Whitaker, professor of public health and pediatrics at Temple University.

Anderson and Whitaker analyzed data collected in 2005 on 8,550 children who were born in the United States in 2001. The data were collected as part of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort, a study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics to provide information about learning environments, health and development of young U.S. children.

The researchers examined the association of childhood obesity among preschool-aged children with three household routines: eating the evening meal as a family more than five times per week; obtaining at least 10 hours of sleep per night; and watching less than two hours per day of TV on weekdays referred to as "screen-viewing time."

The researchers calculated the body mass index (BMI) of the children using the measured heights and weights of the children. BMI measurements were converted into percentiles for age and sex based on growth charts developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2000. For this study, children were considered obese if their BMI scores were at or above the 95th percentile on those charts.

Eighteen percent of the children were determined to be obese by this standard. Among 4-year-old children whose households practiced all three routines, the prevalence of obesity was 14.3 percent. In contrast, almost one in four of the children (24.5 percent) living in households without any of the routines were obese.

The study also suggested that in households practicing none of these routines, adopting just one could lower a child's risk of becoming obese, and having two or three of the routines was more protective than just one.

"I imagine people are going to want to know which of the routines is most important: Is it limited TV, is it dinner, is it
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Contact: Sarah Anderson
sanderson@cph.osu.edu
614-293-4702
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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