Do your kids watch TV while they eat?

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Two-thirds of kids watch TV during mealtimes. On average, kids spend 53 hours a week looking at a screen (sometimes more than one at a time!).

The problem? This affects their health, today and tomorrow.

First of all, just that much screen time makes me cringe. Watching TV means kids are sedentary instead of moving their bodies. Exercise is important for people of all ages. Also, if they are watching TV they aren’t playing or socializing, both of which are needed for healthy brain and personality development.

But back to the mealtime issue. If they are watching TV, they are missing out on the family meal. Family meals are extremely important for emotional development and for kids to adopt healthy eating habits. For more on the family meal, read this post.  Additionally, kids who watch TV the most have higher intakes of calories, fat, and sugar, and lower intakes of fruits and vegetables. This leads to poor brain and body development now while they need optimal nutrition. And it also is associated with obesity, Diabetes and heart disease later.

Turn the TV off and enjoy the family meal. You are your kids’ best model of how to eat healthy.