How to Prevent Child Obesity

Helping your children stay slim and trim could be as easy as three simple steps, a new study published online and scheduled for the March issue of the journal “Pediatrics” finds.

A study of more than 8,000 preschoolers found that sitting down to dinner on a regular basis, limiting TV time and getting plenty of sleep can dramatically reduce a child’s risk of becoming obese.

“We found that children who had these three household routines were at 40 percent lower risk of obesity compared to children who had none of these routines,” Sarah Anderson, PhD, a researcher at The Ohio State University College of Public Health who led the study, said in a statement.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 17 percent of children and teens ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese in the U.S. People who are overweight or obese as children are more likely to grow up to be overweight as adults. The growing epidemic has led to more children suffering from what used to be adult-only illnesses like type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol and blood pressure.

The Ohio State study found that preschoolers were less likely to be obese if they shared an evening meal with their families more than five times per week, got at least 10