Families that eat together without the television on and stay seated until everyone’s finished have children with lower weights and body mass index (BMI), reports this study conducted by Dr. Brian Wansink at Cornell Food and Brand Lab, Cornell University and Ellen Van Kleef at Wageningen University, The Netherlands, in the October issue of the journal Obesity, says an October 29, 2013 news release, “Dinner rituals that correlate with child and adult BMI.”
Did you know that the dining environment itself is an influencer of your weight status? This is the finding of a recent study by Dr. Brian Wansink and Dr. Ellen van Kleef of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, who examined the relationship between everyday family dinner rituals and the BMI of 190 parents and 148 children. The body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat that compares weight to height. Studies have shown that lifestyle factors such as physical activity, eating breakfast every day and income are associated with this frequently used measure of weight status. Also, you may want to check out the site, “The cost-effectiveness of a successful community-based obesity prevention program: The be active eat well program (pages 2072–2080).”
Parents participating in the study completed a questionnaire regarding the whole family’s mealtime habits
They were asked a broad range of questions concerning how many days they engage in mealtime activities, such as discussing their day, during a typical week. After filling in the questionnaire, the weight and height of both parents and children were recorded.
These ‘dinner rituals’ correlated with both the parents and the child’s BMI’s. The higher the BMI of parents, the more frequent they indicated to eat with the TV on. Eating at the table in the dining room or kitchen was linked to lower BMIs for both children and parents.
Girls who helped parents prepare dinner were more likely to have a higher BMI, but there is no such relationship among boys
Yet boys who had a more social dinner experience tended to have lower BMI, especially in families where everyone stayed at the table until everyone finished eating. This proved true in parents as well.
The link between BMI and these dinner-time habits does not necessarily mean that one thing leads directly to another. A heavier girl who helps out with dinner might want an active role in dinner, for example. What is important, however, is that these results underline the importance of the social aspect of sharing a meal as a family on BMI, since watching television, for example, correlated with higher BMI in the parents. These interactions may replace overeating with stronger, more positive feelings.
A good place to start would be to eat together with the television off and then asking the kids to list their highlights of the day
Although the reasons for the links are not clear, family meals and their rituals may be an underappreciated battleground to prevent obesity. Where one eats and how long one eats seems to be a driver of the weight one gains. Such behavior may be related to less distracted eating or more supervision. If you want to strengthen your family ties and, at the same time keep a slimmer figure, consider engaging in a more interactive dinner experience.
After all, the dinner table does not just have to be a place where food gets eaten. Also, you may wish to check out the studies, “Abdominal fat is associated with a greater brain reward response to high-calorie food cues in hispanic women (pages 2029–2036)” and “Extending the history of child obesity in the United States: The fels longitudinal study, birth years 1930-1993 (pages 2153–2156).”
High intake of white fruits and vegetables may protect against stroke, say recent studies
An apple or pear a day may keep strokes away, says a study published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association in which researchers found that eating a lot of fruits and vegetables with white flesh may protect against stroke, the news release, “An apple or pear a day may keep strokes away” reported.
In Northern California locations, stroke rates among young blacks in the Kaiser Permanente study more than doubled between 2000 and 2008, according to Dr. Sidney. The researchers conducted studies to identify underlying reasons for this trend, according to the news release, “NIH awards $40 million in grants to reduce stroke disparities in the US.”
Strokes in young people on the increase
Now, a new analysis published in The Lancet finds a startling 25% increase in the number of stroke cases among people aged 20 to 64 years during the last 20 years. Findings come from the first comprehensive and comparable analysis of the regional and country-specific burden of stroke between 1990 and 2010.
A second study published in The Lancet Global Health shows that in 2010, three-fifths (61.5%) of the disability and more than half (51.7%) of the lives lost to stroke were the result of haemorrhagic strokes despite being half as common as ischaemic strokes. Can a diet that includes more white fruits and vegetables and citrus fruits help reduce this burgeoning phenomena?
According to that Huffington Post, Healthy Living (section) news article, stroke is increasing in young people. In a new report in The Lancet, the results of a new study shows an increasing number of young and middle-aged adults are being affected by it.
Researchers from around the world examined new cases of stroke, its overall prevalence, and deaths from stroke from 1990 to 2012 (looking specifically at time points of 1990, 2005 and 2010). They found that strokes have increased 25 percent globally in the past 20 years in people ages 20 to 64. Currently, 20-to-64-year-olds make up 31 percent of all strokes. Before 1990, they made up just 25 percent.
Apples and pears studied for health benefits and possibly reducing risk of stroke
You can read the original study’s abstract on apples and pears, “Clinical Sciences: Colors of Fruit and Vegetables and 10-Year Incidence of Stroke.” A 2011 study of white fruits and vegetables, such as apples and pears, or cucumbers and cauliflower, showed that these white-fleshed fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of stroke.
While studies have linked high consumption of fruits and vegetables with lower stroke risk, the researchers’ prospective work in 2011 had been the first to examine associations of fruits and vegetable color groups with stroke. The color of the edible portion of fruits and vegetables reflects the presence of beneficial phytochemicals such as carotenoids and flavonoids.
Researchers examined the link between fruits and vegetable color group consumption with 10-year stroke incidence in a population-based study of 20,069 adults, with an average age of 41
The participants were free of cardiovascular diseases at the start of the study and completed a 178-item food frequency questionnaire for the previous year. Almost every month, the news is filled with the results of studies about the health benefits of apples.
In the Netherlands, one study says that a high intake of fruits that are white inside—including apples and pears—reduced the risk of stroke by 50%. What the investigators found is that for each 25 gram per day increase in white fruit and vegetable consumption was associated with a 9 percent decrease in stroke risk, according to Dr. Stephen Sinatra’s article on a new study, “Stroke Risk Factors—Why Younger People Are Having Strokes.”
And regarding the 2011 study, because this initial research is still so new, the researchers caution against jumping to big conclusions. Nonetheless, these early findings published in the September 2011 online release of the journal Stroke are encouraging. Also check out the October 24, 2013 news article, “More Young Adults Being Affected By Stroke, Report Finds.”
From a nutrition aspect, apples and pears and other white fruits and vegetables confer a number of health benefits, and fall is an excellent time to add them to your diet
White potatoes are a starch, for example, but cauliflower and cucumbers are considered white vegetables, among several other vegetables that have white flesh but are not considered a starch vegetable, and white fruit such as pears and apples were included in the study.
Try organic so you don’t get the herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides. The most contaminated by pesticides of fruits and berries are strawberries. So stick to organic varieties. Also the most heavily sprayed fruits with pesticides are peaches, and apples. So you want to look for organic peaches and apples or pears. Also see the sites, “Stroke risk factors” or “Intracranial atherosclerotic stenosis.”
Fruits and vegetables were classified in four color groups:
- Green, including dark leafy vegetables, cabbages and lettuces
- Orange/Yellow, which were mostly citrus fruits
- Red/Purple, which were mostly red vegetables
- White, of which 55 percent were apples and pears
During 10 years of follow-up, 233 strokes were documented. Green, orange/yellow and red/purple fruits and vegetables weren’t related to stroke. However, the risk of stroke incidence was 52 percent lower for people with a high intake of white fruits and vegetables compared to people with a low intake.
Each 25 gram per day increase in white fruits and vegetable consumption was associated with a 9 percent lower risk of stroke. An average apple is 120 grams
“To prevent stroke, it may be useful to consume considerable amounts of white fruits and vegetables,” said Linda M. Oude Griep, M.Sc., according to the September 15, 2011 news release, “An apple or pear a day may keep strokes away.” Gripe is the lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow in human nutrition at Wageningen Uninversity in the Netherlands. “For example, eating one apple a day is an easy way to increase white fruits and vegetable intake. “However, other fruits and vegetable color groups may protect against other chronic diseases. Therefore, it remains of importance to consume a lot of fruits and vegetables.”
Apples and pears are high in dietary fiber and a flavonoid called quercetin. In the study, other foods in the white category were bananas, cauliflower, chicory and cucumber
Potatoes were classified as a starch. Previous research on the preventive health benefits of fruits and vegetables focused on the food’s unique nutritional value and characteristics, such as the edible part of the plant, color, botanical family and its ability to provide antioxidants.
U.S. federal dietary guidelines include using color to assign nutritional value. The U.S. Preventive Health Services Taskforce recommends selecting each day vegetables from five subgroups: dark green, red/orange, legume, starchy and other vegetables.
Before the results are adopted into everyday practice, the findings should be confirmed through additional research, Oude Griep said in the news release, An apple or pear a day may keep strokes away. “It may be too early for physicians to advise patients to change their dietary habits based on these initial findings,” she stated in the news release.
An accompanying editorial notes that the finding should be interpreted with caution because food frequency questionnaires may not be reliable. In addition, “the observed reduction in stroke risk might further be due to a generally healthier lifestyle of individuals consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables,” writes Heike Wersching, M.D., M.Sc., of Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine at the University of Münster, in Germany.
Study co-authors are: W.M. Monique Verschuren, Ph.D.; Daan Kromhout, M.P.H., Ph.D.; Marga C. Ocké, Ph.D.; and Johanna M. Geleijnse, Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at the American Heart Association’s corporate funding website. Also in another study, citrus fruits also helped prevent stroke, according to the news release, “Eating citrus fruit may lower women’s stroke risk.”
- The American Heart Association recommends eating a diet rich in a variety of colors and types of vegetables and fruits, at least 4.5 cups a day. To learn more visit: Eat More Fruits and Vegetables and Tips to boost fruits and vegetables to your diet
- Cooking with white fruits and vegetables can be easy – and healthy. Check out these recipes at the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Center:
- Cool Cucumber Dip
- Modern Tuna Pasta Casserole (add extra cauliflower)
- Pear and Cherry Crumble
- Downloadable stock footage, animation, and an image gallery are located at the Heart News site under Multimedia. For more information on stroke, visit the American Stroke Association website.