Children who eat meals with parents less likely to be overweight

Children who eat breakfast and dinner with their parents are less likely to be overweight than kids who don't, new research from the University of Adger in Norway reveals.

According to dailymail.co.uk, the regularity of which parents and children eat together has an impact on weight too. Kids who eat breakfast with their parents on five to seven occasions a week are 40 per cent less likely to be overweight compared to children who only manage two to four times. Eating dinner with the family on a regular basis also reduces the risk of becoming overweight by 30 per cent.

However, the researchers found that eating lunch together on a regular basis actually increases a child's chance of obesity by 20 per cent, reports nzherald.co.nz. Divorce is another factor which can boost the risk of obesity in children, the study notes. In fact, children of a divorced couple are 1.54 times more likely to be overweight than kids from families where the parents are still together.

The researchers did not provide an explanation as to why divorce increases the risk of obesity but a previous study from Rice University in Texas suggests it could be because children spend more time home alone. Children who spend a lot of time by themselves might have greater access to junk food and are less likely to go outside and exercise. When a parent is at home, they might not have enough time to cook a balanced meal and so end up buying ready meals or fast food, the researchers said.