Ringing the dinner bell to fight obesity

Every year, the National Poll on Children’s Health asks adults about their concerns for the health of the children in their communities. For the past several years, childhood obesity has been rated as the number one health concern. Obesity rose to the top of the list in 2014, yet again, and also ranked as the number one concern that adults have for kids across the country – not just in their own communities.

Top 10 U.S. Children's Health Concerns Rated as a "Big Problem" by Adults in 2014
View full size image | Read the 2014 Top Ten Report

With such widespread concern about obesity, researchers, public health professionals, schools, and communities are working together to find solutions. Last week, a new long-term study was published, finding that the answer to obesity might not just be about what you eat, but about who eats with you at the dinner table.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota and Columbia University. They asked about the eating habits of over 2,000 teenage boys and girls then followed up with them 10 years later. The individuals who ate meals together with their families as teenagers were much less likely to be overweight 10 years later. Even the teenagers who only ate meals with their families once or twice per week were less likely to be overweight than those who never ate with their families. Read more about the study here: Family Meals May Mean a Healthier Weight.

For many parents, this may be great news. Making the dinner bell a priority – even if it isn’t every night of the week – can lead to long term health benefits for the family.

What do you think?:

Have family meals made a difference in your family? Tell us about your experiences in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter!