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GRANADA, Spain—New research published in the journal Nutrición hospitalaria adds to the theory that a child’s nutrition is strongly influenced by the person who prepares their meal. The findings suggest children who have lunch at home with their mother have a better nutritional status and have a lower risk of suffering obesity than children whose meal is prepared by a person other than their mother.

University of Granada researchers sampled 718 school children aged 9 to 17 years from 13 public and private schools located in the province of Granada. The children’s weight, size and body mass index (BMI) by age and sex were assessed using anthropometric measurements. Skinfold measurements were performed at six sites—biceps, triceps, waist, hips, arms and thighs. The researchers also designed a questionnaire to assess the children’s family environment, consumption frequency of specific foods and physical exercise habits. Their aim was to examine the relationship between family environment and obesity and overweight in childhood.

They found a relationship between sedentary leisure habits and BMI. Statistically significant differences were found in BMI between children with sedentary habits and children with good physical exercise habits.

The researchers concluded that «it is extremely important» that healthy habits are promoted and encouraged within the family; children should play «traditional games», which usually involve physical exercise. Healthy habits and physical exercise are essential for achieving healthy children.