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 Foods most heavily advertised  on T.V. tend to be low in nutritional value. New Update

Too much TV!

For every extra weekend TV hour (beyond the recommended 2 hour maximum per day) at age 5 increased the chances of being obese at age 30 by 7% 1/06

Health eating & caries The Relationship Between Healthful Eating Practices and Dental Caries in Children Aged 2-5 Years  

Changing dietary patterns in young children may offset some of the oral health benefits of fluoridation. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between caries in primary teeth and healthful eating practices in young children. The authors used data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to investigate the relationship between healthful eating practices (such as breast-feeding, eating breakfast and consuming five servings of fruits and vegetables a day) and dental caries (untreated tooth decay and overall caries experience) in the primary dentition among children aged 2 through 5 years.  The odds of experiencing caries in primary teeth were significantly greater in nonpoor children who did not eat breakfast daily or ate fewer than five servings of fruit and vegetables per day

The findings support the notion that dental health education should encourage parents, primary caregivers and policy-makers to promote healthful eating practices, such as eating breakfast daily, for young children.

Practice Implications. Dental professionals are well-positioned to inform parents and caregivers regarding age-appropriate healthful eating practices for young children entrusted in their care.

Health eating & caries The Relationship Between Healthful Eating Practices and Dental Caries in Children Aged 2-5 Years in the United States, 1988-1994 Dye B.A., Shenkin J.D., Ogden C.L., Marshall T.A., Levy S.M., Kanellis M.J. JADA January 2004

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For children aged 6-11, an estimated 13 percent are overweight; for adolescents aged 12-19, an estimated 14 percent are overweight.  During the past two decades the prevalence of overweight has doubled among children and has almost tripled among adolescents.**

Put vegetables in salads, soups, casseroles, tacos...

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TV: Eating Up Family Meal Time

A generation of "TV-dinner" kids might be learning their eating habits from Homer Simpson, according to a recent CNRC survey of children's eating habits

Survey data showed that 42 percent of time that Houston-area middle-school children ate dinner at-home, they were parked in front of the "tube." Nearly 300 fourth- through sixth-graders took part in the one-week survey.

"Eating an occasional meal while watching television can be a fun treat for families," said Dr. Karen Cullen, a CNRC behavioral nutritionist and Baylor assistant professor of pediatrics. "But keep in mind that family mealtime is extremely important for children from both a nutritional and a developmental standpoint."

Survey results suggest that concern over these "TV-dinner" kids might be warranted. Overweight children reported eating nearly 50 percent more dinners while watching television than their normal-weight peers.

"We know there's a link between the number of hours children watch television and weight problems," Cullen said. "We also know that people who watch television while eating tend to tune out their natural hunger and satiety cues, which encourages overeating."

A vegetable salad is fun to make.

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Escalating TV-time can also increase the influence of television programming on children's food preferences.

According to Cullen, food commercials are designed to sell product. As a result, they tend to tie the use of a food to positive feelings, such as fun, physical attractiveness or popularity, rather than hunger or health. They also rarely show how the food fits into a healthy diet.

"Studies show that children tend to request those foods most frequently advertised on television," she said. "Unfortunately, the foods most heavily advertised tend to be low in nutritional value."

On the other hand, family-focused meals tend to have a positive influence on children's eating habits.

"Children whose families keep the TV off during mealtimes tend to consume more fruits and vegetable, less saturated fat and more of several key nutrients," Cullen said.

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Families that tune into each other instead of the TV during meals also gain an opportunity to talk and connect.

"Positive family mealtime conversations build children's self-esteem and foster trusting relationships, which can help families talk through tough issues when they arise," she said.

Research agrees. According to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the more meals that teens eat with their families, the less likely they are to smoke or use alcohol or drugs.

"Family meals are key to helping children learn healthy eating and life skills," Cullen said. "Parents need to turn off the television during meals and engage their children."

Source: Carter J.B, Cullen KW, Baranowski T.  BMI Related to Number of Meals Eaten Watching TV as Reported by 4TH  to 6TH Grade Students:  Demographic Differences. Abstract for the American Dietetic Association Meeting, Denver, CO, October 2000.

The best mealtime ingredient: 

 Mealtime is a good time for family conversation   Good conversation   By the time family members arrive home at the end of the day, they're often tired, hungry, and hassled -- hardly the frame of mind for great conversation.

To help jump-start dinnertime conversations, Dr. Tom Baranowski, a psychologist with the CNRC's Behavioral Nutrition section, offers these strategies:
bulletIf family dinners aren't now common, begin by scheduling just one family dinner per week, choosing a night when everyone can be present. Once family members begin connecting over dinner, increase the frequency.
bulletKeep conversations interesting. Reciting a litany of work-woes or reviewing chore lists does little to build family ties or expand a child's view of the world.
bulletCreate conversation-starting rituals. For example, have each family member plan to share a statement, perhaps about something interesting they recently did or learned. Or, even a silly joke. To help children feel more comfortable expressing feelings and thoughts, parents should offer their statements first.
bulletKeep comments positive and supportive. If children bring up problematic issues, suggest an after dinner talk to work out a solution together. This allows the child to save face and keeps the dinner table a safe place for children to bring up difficult topics.

Links to more sites on Nutrition and Children

USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine


February 06, 2008              

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