Highlights from the April 2007 Journal of the American Dietetic Association

April 03, 2007

CHICAGO - The April 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest. Below is a summary of some of this month's articles. For more information or to receive a copy of a Journal article, e-mail media@eatright.org.

Positive Effects of Family Dinner Are Undone by TV Viewing

Low-income families with pre-school children tend to eat better when dining together as a family, but less nutritiously when the television is on during dinner, according to researchers at the New York State Department of Health.

More than 1,300 parents of children participating in New York's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children - or WIC - were surveyed on how many days per week the family ate dinner together; the number of days per week the TV was on during dinner; and how often fruits and vegetables were served.

"Each night the family ate dinner together was positively associated with serving fruits or vegetables," the researchers write. "Serving fruits or vegetables decreased with each night the television was on during dinner."

Other findings include: "Although the effects of family dinner and having the television on during dinner are in opposite directions, it is apparent that having dinner as a family does not overcome the adverse effects of having the television on during mealtime," the researchers write.

"Because dietary habits and preferences are established early in life, parents should be counseled to promote family meal environments that support healthful eating."

Body Weight Associated with Portion Sizes in Young Adults

College students with higher body mass indexes tend to consider larger food portion sizes as typical and therefore eat significantly larger amounts of high-calorie foods, according to researchers at Colorado State and San Diego State universities.

In a survey of 51 students, the researchers found "when allowed to select their own portion sizes, participant BMI is a very strong predictor of larger than recommended amounts of food....This finding agrees with previous research that suggests increased portions lead to increased intake."

In general, the study's participants chose "substantially larger" portion sizes of ten out of 15 foods and drinks, which included potato chips, rice, tortilla chips, pudding, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, water and soda. The students' BMI alone "positively predicted" the selection of larger portion sizes of six foods.

"In addition, participants chose significantly larger portion sizes for high-carbohydrate foods when compared to high-fat foods," the researchers write. "Women estimated lower portions of the (high-calorie), high-fat and high-carbohydrate foods when compared to men...Because the diet food industry has traditionally targeted women, it is possible that women are better than men at regulating portion sizes of foods that are more likely to increase body weight."

Additional research articles in the April Journal of the American Dietetic Association include:
The Journal of the American Dietetic Association is the official research publication of the American Dietetic Association and is the premier peer-reviewed journal in the field of nutrition and dietetics.

With more than 65,000 members, the American Dietetic Association is the nation's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health and well-being. To locate a registered dietitian in your area, visit the American Dietetic Association at www.eatright.org.

American Dietetic Association

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