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More Family Dinners Seen as Help in Fighting Teen Obesity

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"The family that eats together may have healthy weight together."

So say University of Minnesota researchers who studied ways parents could help their obese teenage children lose weight.

According to the Associated Press, the scientists, who studied the eating habits of more than 2,500 adolescents over a five year period found that 44 percent of the girls and 20 percent of the boys had weight issues. Among these, 25 percent of the females and 10 percent of the males used extreme measures to control their weight, including vomiting and laxatives.

"We know that these behaviors tend to actually increase weight gain over time, the A.P. quotes lead author Dianne Neumark-Sztainer as saying. "It points to a need to address these behaviors with... overweight kids."

Part of the solution, the researchers concluded, was to have as many family meals together as possible, with no teasing about eating habits, and offering healthful menus. This should accompany family participation in outdoor activities and exercise, the wire service reported.

The study is to be published in the November 2007 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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