TV dinners

People who watch television while they eat may be setting themselves up for extra pounds. What is the problem with such TV dinners?

Turning Off the TV:

New research found that adults who have family meals with home-cooked foods and no television on during dinner are less likely to become seriously overweight. The data come from the 2012 Ohio Medicaid Assessment Survey of more than 12,000 adults. The volunteers were asked about family meals, television during meals and home cooked foods. They were also asked their height and weight.

A third of the participants had a BMI over 30, which is considered a threshold for obesity. Those who had home-cooked family meals were one fourth as likely to be fat. People who turned the television off during meals were 37 percent less likely to be seriously overweight compared to those who almost always watch TV at mealtime.

Home-Cooked Food:

People who did not eat very many meals at home got even more benefit out of their family meals if they were home-cooked rather than fast food, carry-out or processed foods. Perhaps it’s time for Americans to follow the example of Europeans who pay attention to the social aspects of meals and care about the quality of home-cooked food. Even a simple meal prepared with care and shared with family members can be healthful. People who watch TV while they eat are less likely to pay attention to what they are eating. They may overeat or choose foods that are not as good for them.

Tumin & Anderson, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, online February 24, 2017 

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  1. M

    Interesting article although 37 is not a significant enough percentage to prove a point. My mother grew up in a family of 6 with a mother whom was a very good cook. Every meal was home cooked without TV. Yet my mother and all of her siblings ended up overweight in adulthood. My mother never cooked a meal for me and my brother and we always ate on the couch in front of the tv either fast food or tv dinners until we were old enough to learn to cook for ourselves. Yet me and my brother are now young adults and very thin. I think it is more a matter of personality although the tv could be a factor it isn’t a major one.

  2. Mary Jane

    Ah, these studies to prove what should be obvious! My mother refused to allow a TV set in the dining room. We ate meals as a family, and none of the six of us is fat.

    • KAy

      We’re all slender and only eat dinner in front of tv. Family of four kids, now young adults .

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