Healthy behavior in children promoted by family rules

housetulesA study by Indiana University has investigated potential preventative measures for childhood obesity and has found that setting family rules about healthy eating and sedentary behavior impacts on healthier behavioral practices in children.

The study consisted of analyzing 3000 participants from fourth through eighth grade. The family rules analyzed centered around time spent on watching television, playing video games and what children were allowed to eat.

The results reflected that children coming from household with healthy behavioral guidelines tended to make healthier choices for themselves. Children with set family rules for what they could or could not eat were less likely to consume fast food and were more likely to eat fruits and vegetables than students without guidelines. The same went for time spent with television, video games and computer use. Moreover, the study revealed a profile of the demographics of children most likely to have family rules, citing that students coming from families that had eating and sedentary rules were more likely to be younger, female, white and of lower socioeconomic status.

The study showed a direct correlation between the healthy behaviors shown and weight status. “Childhood obesity has really become a health crisis, so as researchers we’re trying to see what we can do to lessen the toll,” lead author Alyssa M. Lederer said.

“As we try to figure out ways to tackle childhood obesity, this is something that families can do very easily,” Lederer said. “It doesn’t involve money or policy change, and it can make a very important change in their children’s health.”


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