Structured daily routine protects against overweight

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A structured everyday family life protects children from being overweight.

(02.07.2010) Regular meals together, structural requirements and rituals protect children in particular from being overweight. It is not the "little extras" that lead to unhealthy eating and obesity, but rather the under-lived family life. This resulted in a new AOK family study 2010, which was presented in Berlin. Around 2000 parents from all over Germany were interviewed in the AOK study. About 16 percent of children in Germany are overweight.

A structured daily routine has less to do with a fixed set of rules, but more with rituals like eating together. According to the AOK study, children who have an irregular breakfast with their parents are twice as likely to be overweight. Only 64 percent of parents in Germany regularly have breakfast with their children. Having breakfast together gives the children physical and psychological strength and security. When sitting together at the table, the course of the day can be discussed, the children can orient themselves on the basis of the agreements made. According to the study, the risk of obesity and the risk of mental illness are minimized.

Parents should treat themselves to a break more often in the interest of the children. Because relaxed parents also promote children's health. If parents do not take part in events at school or kindergarten, the proportion of psychological symptoms increases from 13 to 32 percent. An interest of the parents also increases the psychological stability of the children.

Many parents today are hardly able to set limits against the excessive consumption of different media. Only two thirds of parents manage to categorize media consumption. About 30 percent of children who have no limits on media consumption are overweight. Conclusion: A family life lived together protects the health of our children. (sb)

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Image: Rolf van Melis /

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