Family structure including regular bedtimes, mealtimes and limited screen time appear to be linked to better emotional health in preschoolers, and might lower the chances of obesity later, a new study suggests.
The research included 10,955 children who are part of the Millennium Cohort Study, a long-term study of a diverse population of children born in the United Kingdom from September of 2000 to January of 2002.
At age 3, 41 percent of children always had a regular bedtime, 47 percent always had a regular mealtime and 23 percent were limited to an hour or less daily of TV and videos. At age 11, about 6 percent were obese. All three household routines were significantly associated with better emotional self-regulation, but not better cognitive self-regulation. Lack of a regular bedtime and poorer emotional self-regulation at age 3 were independent predictors of obesity at age 11.