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Effects Of Family Meals, Sleeping And Screen Time On Obesity In Preschoolers - American Academy Of Pediatrics

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Preschool children exposed to three household routines -- regularly eating family meals, getting adequate sleep, and limiting screen-viewing time -- had a roughly 40 percent lower prevalence of obesity than those exposed to none of these routines. The study, "Household Routines and Obesity in U.S. Preschool-Aged Children," published in the March issue of Pediatrics (appearing online Feb. 8), involved a cross-sectional analysis of 8,550 4-year-old U.S. children in which researchers examined the association between childhood obesity and three household routines. Eighteen percent of all the children in the study were obese.
Among those exposed to all three household routines, the prevalence of obesity was 14.3 percent, compared with 24.5 percent among those exposed to none of the routines. Each routine by itself was associated with lower risk of obesity, and the more routines children had the lower was their risk for obesity.
The association between having these routines and a lower risk of obesity was seen in both higher and lower income households and for children with and without an obese mother. Study authors suggest that these household routines offer a promising approach to preventing childhood obesity and the routines may also benefit other parts of children's development.
American Academy of Pediatrics
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