Eating at Home and Childhood Obesity

Here’s another reason to eat lunch at home with your child. According to a recent study, kids who have lunch at home with their moms are at a lower risk of becoming obese than kids whose meal is prepared by someone other than their mother.

Researchers at University of Granada in Spain studied 718 school children between the ages of 9 and 17 from 13 public and private schools in Granada. The investigators assessed the kids’ weight, size and body mass index (BMI) by age and sex, and performed skinfold measurements at six sites in the waist, hips, arm and thighs. They also looked at the relationship between family environment and obesity in childhood through a questionnaire used to assess the children’s family environment, physical exercise habits and food consumption.

The authors of the study found that the kids who didn’t eat at home had “a poorer nutritional status” than kids whose meal is prepared by their mother. They say this is due to the fact that the mother is the person in the family who knows the nutritional needs of children the best and has the strongest knowledge of nutrition to prepare the kids’ meals.

The researchers also found significant differences in BMI between kids with good physical exercise habits and kids with sedentary habits. Kids who spent a lot of time watching TV, surfing the internet and playing video games had higher BMI than those who did not. They say healthy habits should be encouraged within the family and that physical exercise and healthy habits are necessary to keep children healthy.