Eat Home Cooked Meals and Skip Watching TV to Lower Risks of Obesity
Published : 28 Mar 2017, 14:50
Obesity is one of the leading health concerns affecting the world population today. The alarming part is that it is no longer restricted to middle-age adults; today, even children are facing obesity issues. One of the main reasons behind the rise of obesity is our habits.
We seek for convenience more than ever, and want everything to be provided to us, as a result of which we are moving away from being fit and active, and adopting sedentary lifestyle. Take something as simple as eating meals.
Earlier, it was a common custom to cook meals at home and enjoy it together with the family, sitting down on the dining table. Nowadays, takeaways and home deliveries have become a norm, and we often find ourselves flopping on the sofa and watching TV rather than sitting on dining table.
The truth is that our habits play an important role for your health and well-being. These habits are what can put you at risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc as you get sucked into the grips of sedentary lifestyle. According to a study done by Ohio State University, people who don't watch TV and stick to home-cooked meals are at lower risk of obesity.
The study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found that people who refrained from watching TV during family meals were at lower risk of obesity as compared to those who had the habit of watching TV regularly during mealtime. Also the number of times you are having family meals is not as crucial as how you are having those meals.
"How often you are eating family meals may not be the most important thing. It could be that what you are doing during these meals matters more," said lead author Rachel Tumin, survey and population health analyst manager at the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center.
"This highlights the importance of thinking critically about what is going on during those meals, and whether there might be opportunities to turn the TV off or do more of your own food preparation," said Tumin, who conducted the study as part of her PhD dissertation with senior author Sarah Anderson, associate professor of epidemiology in Ohio State's College of Public Health.
The new study suggests that the structure of family meals may be as or more important than their frequency, said Anderson.
"Obesity was as common in adults who ate family meals one or two days a week as it was in those who ate family meals every day. Regardless of family meal frequency, obesity was less common when meals were eaten with the television off and when meals were cooked at home," she said.
Tumin and Anderson's analysis found the lowest odds of obesity for those adults who engaged in both healthy practices - eating home-cooked food and doing it without a TV or video on - every time they ate a family meal.
But that doesn't mean it's an all-or-nothing proposition, said Tumin.
"Families have a lot of demands and they can feel pressured to do things 'right' all the time. This study showed potential benefits regardless of how often you eat a family meal at home. Though family-meal frequency did not emerge as a possible contributor to obesity, that doesn't mean it doesn't carry other perks for families, including social and emotional health," Tumin said.
Research in children and adolescents has found frequent family meals lead to better dietary outcomes and lower chances the children will become overweight or obese. And other studies have shown that adolescents who watch TV during family meals consume less-healthful meals.
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