Dinner Rituals Correlate With A Child's Weight

If you have kids, here's news you'll want to read or share. Beyond reducing plate size and counting calories, there may be another strategy for keeping the family at a healthy weight: eating together at the dinner table.

What Does the Dinner Table Have To Do With Anything?

A new study in the journal Obesity noticed families who eat together without the television on and stay seated until everyone has finished have children with lower weights and lower body mass indexes (BMIs) than those who don’t. The association is especially pronounced for boys.

Conversate With Your Kids

Researchers explain that strong, positive socialization skills during dinners possibly replace the need to overeat. Mothers and fathers who talk meaningfully with children about their day during dinner also have lower BMIs.

Establish A Designated Eating Spot

The researchers also speculate, the ritual of where one eats and how long one eats seems to be the largest driver.  Families who eat while watching television can be heavier, 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.   

By focusing on family dining rituals, this research shows family meals and their rituals might be an underappreciated battleground to fight obesity.

The more people hear about subjects like eating together, the better off the world is for everybody.

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods



1. Wansink B, van Kleef E. Dinner rituals that correlate with child and adult BMI. Obesity. 2013 Oct. 1.

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