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Three factors to fight childhood obesity

February 8, 2010 |  9:01 am

TV Here's good advice for parents of preschool-age children. Eat meals together, limit your child's weekday TV viewing time and make sure they have a regular sleep schedule. The authors of a new study say children in families with this combination of habits have a 40% lower prevalence of obesity.

The study was based on data from 8,550 children. Each of the three routines was a factor in lowering the risk of obesity regardless of the child's other risks for obesity, such as obesity in the parents. The children with the lowest risk for obesity came from families who had dinner together at least five times a week, got at least 10.5 hours sleep each night and watched less than two hours of TV per day on weekdays. One-quarter of the children in the survey lived in homes where none of those routines was established.

The most positive thing about the study, said the authors of the paper, is that this approach reduces the risk of obesity without focusing entirely on food and weight.

The study is published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

-- Shari Roan

Photo credit: Tim Boyle / Getty Images

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