Families should have 'meals around the table' in order to combat childhood obesity expert says 1 year ago

Families should have 'meals around the table' in order to combat childhood obesity expert says

There is no denying that childhood obesity has become a very stubborn health issue here in Ireland.

With matching and equally worrying figures for many other countries across the developed world.

In fact, according to a report last year, Irish 14-year-olds have become on average  14kgs heavier (more than two stone) in the past 50 years. That is a rather stark number, no?

And while there are many measures that need to be taken in order to turn this trend around, a UK health expert has a very simple solution she reckons will go a long way in changing things for the better when it comes to our children's weight and overall health.

"Families who do not have dinner around the table run their risk of children getting fat," Prof Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer and the UK's “nanny in chief” has warned and urged parents to have family meals together in order to ensure slimmer waistlines and boost brainpower.

Speaking at a rcent London debate, Davies said children were more likely to develop weight problems if they were allowed to indulge in “mindless” eating in front of TV and computer screens.

And she also suggested that conversations around the dinner table were also crucial for children’s intellectual development – on the background of several studies linking high levels of screen time to a greater risk of obesity.

Dame Sally told a debate in London: “When people are using screens or watching the television that their calorie intake goes up … because if you don’t concentrate on the food, the social interaction is fairly mindless and the feeling of satiation is not recognised as easily. We would like people to sit down and eat together and actually if you look at child development they need to interact with their families - with adults - and mealtimes are a very important part of that."

Eating together could go a long way in making our children healthier, Davies said.

“Proper meal times with healthy food are going to help our children develop effectively and probably help our waistlines,” she stated.

According to The Telegraph, others at the event suggested Britain should attempt to emulate France, in its eating habits.

“One of the reasons that drives the UK up the obesity charts is the way we eat - the environment we do it in, Hugo Fry, managing director of pharmaceutical giant Sanofi said. "We are massive TV eaters, grab-and-go eaters. At the other end of the chart the French … sit down as a family at every single meal - breakfast lunch and dinner.”

Tell us – do YOU sit down for dinner as a family? Or do you struggle to have time to make this happen? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @herfamilydotie