Can the lack of dinner rituals contribute to the growing obesity issue? Essay
Can the lack of dinner rituals contribute to the growing obesity issue?, 497 words essay example
While intuitive factors such as physical activity, metabolic rates, genetics, caloric intake, quality of food consumed do influence the BMI, this study was very interesting because it indicated that the lack of dinner rituals in modern day families may also be contributing to the growing obesity issue going on now a days.
For the purposes of this study, parents were asked to complete a set of questions about the family's dinner habits. For instance, families were asked if they engaged in any conversation about how their children's day at school was or conducted similar conversation. Once the set of questions was answered, the family members' weight and height (for BMI calculation) were recorded.
The study found that the dinner practices that families participated in connected well with the BMIs of both the children as well as the parents. It was found that families who ate either at the dining table or in the kitchen had much lower BMIs compared to families who eat dinner elsewhere like in front of the TV. In addition, the frequency of eating with the TV on indicated a higher BMI. Girls who helped with preparation of meals also tended to have higher BMI compared to girls who did not. A similar correlation was absent amongst boys. In addition, boys and parents who engaged in conversation with their parents and stayed at the table till everyone was done eating also exhibited lower BMIs. Sometimes correlation does not imply causation and hence the statistic about girls who helped with preparation of dinners having a higher BMI may not immediately make sense. It may be that girls who like food and eat more may want an active role in the preparation of dinner. It might also mean that the sample size was not big enough and this resulted in a correlation where there is actually none. Nonetheless, the other results from this study are very revealing. They seem to suggest that people who have dinner together as a family have lower BMIs. This seems to suggest that when people watch TV they tend to overeat whereas participating in family conversations at dinner can contribute to positive support and socialization which can prevent overeating.
This is an important study because nutritionists typically use food-centric therapy but it appears that family rituals during eating might be an underrated aspect contributing to obesity. Engaging in meaningful family conversations during dinner can not only strengthen family ties but can lead to positive socialization, less distraction and consequently healthier weights in both adults and children.
Nutrition professionals can advise overweight families to switch their TVs off while eating and this might prove to be an easy to implement method which can help with weight reduction. This might be an especially useful therapy for modern day families where both parents and kids are overworked. Having a nice time at dinner to reflect on the day , unwind and engage in family conversation can be very fruitful for both physical and mental health.