Avoid skipping meals with kids

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New York: If you want your kids to grow up healthy, make it a point not to miss dinner time with them.

Spending time at home, especially at breakfast and dinner, gives your adolescent kids healthier eating behaviour and even better exercise habits, says new research from the Pennsylvania State University.

"The schedule of work that parents follow affects their adolescent children's eating habits, and could even be more important than the number of hours parents spend at work," said lead researcher Molly Martin.

Meals at home helped to control portion sizes and kept a check on junk food snacking later in the day.

"Regular meals at home can help children and adolescents avoid weight problems," said Martin.

Also fathers' availability significantly predicted whether or not children played sports or exercised, according to Martin.

She said when fathers were at home, their children were more likely to eat fruit.

For the study, researchers studied data of 16,991 adolescents from the US.

The findings were recently shared at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.