Dinner Rituals that Correlate with Child and Adult BMI
Obesity 22.5 (2014): E91-E95.
17 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2014
Date Written: August 27, 2013
Objective: What predicts whether a child will be at risk for obesity? Whereas past research has focused on foods and eating habits, this study departs from a food-centric approach to examine how various dinner rituals might influence the BMIs of children and adults.
Methods: In this study of 190 parents (BMI=29.1 ± 7.2) and 148 children (BMI=20.3 ± 4.4), the relationship between their BMIs and everyday family dinner rituals was examined using both correlation and regression analysis (controlled for educational level of parents).
Results: Families who frequently ate dinner in the kitchen or dining room had significantly lower BMIs for both adults (r=-.31) and children (r=-.24) compared to families who ate elsewhere. Additionally, helping cook dinner was associated with higher BMI for girls (r=.26), and remaining at the table until everyone is finished with eating was associated with lower BMI for boys (r=-.31).
Conclusions: Dinner tables may be one place where social support and family involvement meet – both of which relate to the BMI of children as well as parents. Family meals and their rituals might be an unappropriated battleground to fight obesity.
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