Nutrition News: Late Family Dinners, Healthy Lifestyle and Cancer, Divorced Men’s Diets

Happy little boy waiting for dinner.

Photo by: DANIEL JEDZURA ©Daniel Jedzura

DANIEL JEDZURA, Daniel Jedzura

Late family dinners

Parents who are perpetually running behind schedule with the family dinner probably have a lot on their plates, but one thing they can worry less about is dooming their kids to obesity just because the evening meal is served late. While previous research has indicated that meal timing could boost the risk of being overweight or obese for children, a new U.K. study examining data from more than 1,600 kids, ages 4 to 18, found that the risk of being overweight or obese was no higher among kids who ate between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. than it was among those served supper earlier in the day.

Study author Gerda Pot, a visiting lecturer at King’s College London, told HealthDay News that she and her colleagues had “expected to find an association between eating later and being more likely to be overweight” and so found the study results “surprising.”

Healthy life, long life

How important is a healthy lifestyle – not smoking, drinking alcohol only moderately (if at all), maintaining a body mass index between 18.5 and 27.5, and engaging in vigorous aerobic exercise at least 75 minutes per week or moderately intense exercise at least 150 minutes weekly? Well, for one thing, it could lower your risk of dying from cancer.

In a new study of 89,500 white women and 46,300 white men, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Oncology, maintaining a “healthy lifestyle pattern” was determined to decrease the risk of death from cancer by 59 percent for women and 67 percent for men and to reduce the rate of new cancers by 41 percent for women and 63 percent for men. So it might be a good idea to put down that second cocktail and head to the gym.

Businessman eating breakfast at home/hotel. Indoor photo.

Divorce and eating

Forget all those movie scenes where female protagonists dig into a tub of ice cream after a breakup. Women’s diets don’t change much following a divorce, but divorced men’s diets deteriorate to the point where they actually have a clinical effect on the men’s health, according to a study published in Social Science & Medicine. The findings also held for marriages that ended in separation or the death of a spouse.

Men whose marriages ended reduced their daily consumption of fruits and vegetables by about 25 percent over the course of the multiyear study, and their diets became significantly less varied, whereas women didn’t change their diets in statistically significant ways following the end of a marriage. Men’s alcohol consumption remained steady, whereas women drank slightly less alcohol — about one drink less a week — after their marriages ended.

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. A regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire, The Daily Beast and Wine Spectator, among others, as well as for Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer.

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