May Late Dinners Cause Childhood Obesity? What Do Studies Say

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May late dinners cause childhood obesity? What do studies say.

In the past years, studies showed that our biological clock is affected by eating at inappropriate hours during childhood. And that means that it also affects our weight. But a new study denies this theory. It seems like there is no significant correlation between eating dinner at late hours and childhood obesity. 

Eating late dinners every night in front of the TV is comfortable, and sometimes we all need comfort food. But eating at late hours is not good for you because you won’t have time to burn off the calories that you consume and eventually you’ll gain weight.

As you probably imagine, the way adults eat influences the eating behavior of children. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 60% of children who are overweight before puberty will be overweight in early adulthood. But what is the cause of childhood obesity? Is it junk food? Is it sweets? Is it late dinners?

Does childhood obesity have nothing to do with eating late?

Some researchers used data from UK’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme collected between 2008 and 2012, and they studied the food diaries of 1,620 children aged 4 – 18 years. They wanted to assess dietary intake and mealtime over a 4-day period. The researchers also considered the body mass index (BMI) of each child.

The data showed that there is no greater risk for children to become overweight or obese if they eat between 2 pm and 8 pm or between 8 pm and 10 pm.

“We expected to find an association between eating later and being more likely to be overweight but actually found that this was not the case. This may be due to the limited number of children consuming their evening meal after 8 pm in this cohort”, says Gerda Pot, lead author of the study, according to

“Alongside changes in dietary quality and levels of physical activity, meal timing is one of many possible factors that have been suggested as influencing the trends in weight gain seen in children in the UK,” Pot added.

Anyway, if you or your children grab a midnight snack once in a while, it isn’t dangerous. But be careful not to turn it into a habit!

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