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Simple Way To Prevent Obesity: Turn Off TV During Family Meals [VIDEO]

Update Date: Apr 10, 2017 11:26 AM EDT

Researchers gathered data on family meals and its link to the risk of obesity. Apparently, a simple way to prevent obesity is not to have the television running during family meals.

The study, led by survey and population analyst manager at the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center Rachel Tumin and associate professor of epidemiology in Ohio State's College of Public Health Sarah Anderson, used data from the 2012 Ohio Medicaid Assessment Survey. This survey was conducted through the telephone with almost 13,000 respondents.

To define obesity, the researchers used a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30 which they then personally calculated based on each respondent's height and weight that are self-reported. They focused on Ohio families who had a family meal for at least once in a week.

The statistical method called logistic regression, where the outcome is analyzed from a dataset of one or more variables, to find the association of obesity and practices and patterns of family meals. Factors such as age, employment and marital status, educational level and ethnicity were adjusted per respondent as well.

Simple Way to Prevent Obesity? More Quality Family Meals

Findings of the study showed the number of times or the frequency of family meals is not a factor in the development of obesity as published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In fact, families who have meals together around six to seven times a week and families who do not do it as much like once or twice weekly are just as likely to be obese.

What matters, apparently, is the quality of these family meals. There is a lower risk of obesity in family meals where 36 percent stated television is turned off and especially when 62 percent of the participants had meals that are homecooked.

With that, improving the quality of the family's time together during meals, no matter how many times a week, is a simple way to prevent obesity. With obesity affecting one in every three adults in the US and the many health risk factors it comes with, it is time for people to be more conscious of their eating practices.

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