Things you can do at home to reduce childhood obesity

Obesity has become a huge problem in our kids. But there are 3 things you can start doing today to keep your kids from packing on the pounds.

Eat dinner together

Having grown up in an Italian family, Michelle Ziegler spent a lot of time around the dinner table.

Now that she's a mother of two, she's made it a priority to carry on the tradition.

She says, "We do get together, we talk about what we did at work, preschool, the baby sitter's house. You know, just catch up on the whole day that we were not together."

This simple routine of sitting down to dinner every night is doing more than keeping her family connected, it's actually making her kids healthier.

A new study in the journal Pediatrics shows that sitting down to dinner on a regular basis seems to cut the risk of obesity in preschoolers.

Limit TV time and get enough sleep

And if you limit the amount of time they watch TV to 2 hours a day and make sure they get enough sleep, about 10 and a half hours, the risk goes down even more.

Dr. Sarah Anderson with Ohio State University's College of Public Health says, "We found that children who had these three household routines were at 40% lower risk of obesity compared to children who had none of these routines."

Dr. Anderson is the researcher who led the study. She says implementing at least one of these routines can cut the risk of obesity in kids, but the more you do, the better.

And they're all likely to help children develop in several important areas. Dr. Anderson says, "Including helping with language acquisition, cognitive development and social and emotional development."

The study showed combining all three routines had a bigger impact on kid's health.

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