Dinner rituals that correlate with child and adult BMI

October 29, 2013

Beyond plate size and calorie count, the war against obesity may have a new leader – the dinner table. Families that eat together without the television on and stay seated until everyone's finished have children with lower weights and body mass index (BMI), reports a Cornell behavioral economist in the October issue of Obesity.

Strong, positive socialization skills during dinners possibly supplant the need to overeat, the researchers explain. Mothers and fathers who talk meaningfully with , especially young boys, about their day during dinner also have lower BMIs.

"The ritual of where one eats and how long one eats seems to be the largest driver," said Brian Wansink, professor in Cornell's Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. He co-authored the study with Ellen Van Kleef, assistant professor at Wageningen University, The Netherlands.

But families that eat while watching television can turn chubby, the researchers noted. "In fact, eating anywhere other than the kitchen or dining room was related to higher BMIs in both parents and in children," said Wansink.

"By focusing on family dining rituals, this research departs from the more food-centric approaches," said Wansink. "Family meals and their rituals might be an underappreciated battleground to fight ."

Explore further: Combo-snacks of cheese and vegetables cut kids calories

Related Stories

Combo-snacks of cheese and vegetables cut kids calories

December 17, 2012
Want your children to be healthier snackers? A new Cornell study finds that serving children combined snacks of vegetables and cheese led them to eat 72 percent fewer calories—and be just as satisfied as those who were ...

How foods are 'sized' affects how much we eat

June 21, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Portions, such as 8, 12 or 16 ounces – are given different labels – small, medium or large – at different restaurants.

Fast food restaurant lighting and music can reduce calorie intake and increase satisfaction

August 29, 2012
Your mood for food can be changed by a restaurant's choice of music and lighting, leading to increased satisfaction and reduced calorie intake, according to a new study.

How vegetables make the meal

November 27, 2012
Parents may have some new motivations to serve their kids vegetables. A new Cornell University study, published in Public Health Nutrition, found that by simply serving vegetables with dinner, the main course would taste ...

What would Batman eat? Priming children to make healthier fast food choices

July 19, 2012
Popeye inspired a generation of growing Baby Boomers to eat its spinach. Today, role models such as Batman can prompt children to develop their own healthy eating habits, a recent Cornell University study finds.

Mindless eating: Losing weight without thinking

August 5, 2011
Dieters may not need as much willpower as they think, if they make simple changes in their surroundings that can result in eating healthier without a second thought, said a consumer psychologist at the American Psychological ...

Recommended for you

Are sugary drink interventions changing people's behaviour?

July 19, 2017
An evaluation of efforts designed to reduce how many sugary drinks we consume shows some success in changing younger people's habits but warns they cannot be the only way to cut consumption.

Young adult obesity: A neglected, yet essential focus to reverse the obesity epidemic

July 18, 2017
The overall burden of the U.S. obesity epidemic continues to require new thinking. Prevention of obesity in young adults, while largely ignored as a target for prevention and study, will be critical to reversing the epidemic, ...

Weight gain from early to middle adulthood may increase risk of major chronic diseases

July 18, 2017
Cumulative weight gain over the course of early and middle adulthood may increase health risks later in life, according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. They found that, compared ...

Study finds children carry implicit bias towards peers who are overweight

June 23, 2017
Even children as young as 9 years old can carry a prejudice against their peers who are overweight, according to a new study led by Duke Health researchers. They might not even realize they feel this way.

Mother's obesity boosts risk for major birth defects: study

June 15, 2017
Children of obese women are more likely to be afflicted by major birth defects, including malformations of the heart and genitals, according to a study published on Thursday.

New study finds more than 2 billion people overweight or obese

June 12, 2017
Globally, more than 2 billion children and adults suffer from health problems related to being overweight or obese, and an increasing percentage of people die from these health conditions, according to a new study.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.