Does eating late make kids fat?
A recent study disproves the myth that a late supper time causes obesity in children.
Most parents have got the “Witching Hour” – you know, that magically insane time when supper, bath and bed time are stealing the last dregs of your patience for the day – down to a somewhat reasonable routine.
For my 2-year-old we start with supper at around 6pm and in bed by 7:30pm. We just wanted him to be in bed early and I had no idea that according to studies, eating supper at a later time could lead to childhood obesity.
Previous evidence suggested that eating at a later time could impact your child's circadian rhythms aka your body’s internal clock and in turn affect your body’s metabolic processes - potentially risking obesity.
But according to an article on the King’s College London website, a new study has cast this into question. Researchers found no significant link between eating your evening meal after 8pm and excess weight in children, according to a paper published this month in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Information was taken from 1 620 children - 768 children aged 4-10 years and 852 children aged 11-18 years - using data from the UK’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme collected between 2008 and 2012.
Statistical analysis of this data showed no greater risk of being obese or overweight when eating supper between 8pm and 10pm compared to eating earlier in the evening.
The lead author of the study, Dr Gerda Pot, a Visiting Lecturer in the Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences Division at King’s said: ‘The findings of our study are surprising. 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 8pm in this cohort.’
We asked some of our readers what time their kids ate supper and here's what they had to say:
What time do your kids eat supper? Do you think eating later has any effect on their well-being? Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.