Two simple actions with BIG results!
Obesity is a major problem in the U.S. today. Close to 70% of adults in the country are overweight, with more than 35% being fully obese. That’s some pretty scary statistics! All of those people are at serious risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disorders, and many more health problems. Thanks to the obesity epidemic in the U.S., healthcare costs are rising along with mortality rates.
According to a new study from Ohio State University, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce your risk of obesity. Specifically, turn off your TV and have meals together as a family.
Turn Off the TV
It’s a well-known fact that watching TV makes you feel relaxed, which is good at the end of a stressful day. However, it can also make you lazier, prevent you from getting to the gym or moving around. The more time you spend sitting down, the slower your metabolism. Add that to a day spent sitting at the office or in your car, and you have a very sedentary day.
But watching TV during meal times is going to DOUBLE the nasty effects. Studies have proven that eating while watching TV makes you less conscious of what you’re putting in your body. People tend to eat more while watching TV.
According to the Ohio State University study, keeping the TV off at meal times can prevent overeating. Households that didn’t turn on the TV at meal times had lower obesity rates than those who ate dinner while watching TV. Don’t sit on the couch for dinner—instead, sit at the table as a family!
READ MORE: Here’s What We Know About the Obesity Gene
Have Family Meals
Eating together as a family bonds you as a family. It allows your children to talk, listen, share their feelings, and learn. Many studies have proven that family dinners are vital for your family’s emotional health and wellbeing.
The Ohio State University study found that home-cooked family meals helped to reduce obesity. The families that handled their own meal prep and ate together at the table had lower obesity rates. Add to that the “no TV watching”, and you have much healthier families.
Cooking your own meals is time-consuming and hard work, but it keeps you moving (burning calories). You are also more aware of what you’re putting in your food and body. You can make healthier eating choices when you take control of your own meals. You’ll find it’s easier to eat the raw foods (veggies, nuts, seeds, and fruits) and whole grains you enjoy when you prepare them yourself.
But cooking your own meals also improves the quality of ingredients. Pizza involves a lot of white flour in the dough. Hamburgers are low in nutrients and accompanied by deep-fried French fries. Even Indian, Chinese, and Mexican take-out is far less healthy than a home-cooked meal. There are fewer veggies and more starches included in your average takeout meal.
Cooking at home is the key to improving the quality of your food. You can sneak more veggies into your kids’ food, or replace white grains with whole grains. The time you spend cooking will help you to move around and burn more calories. You’ll feel better about yourself when you sit down to have a family meal. The time you spend talking together and NOT watching TV will be one of the best times of the day. Not only will you be a healthier family physically, but also emotionally. It’s a win-win!