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Why TV dinners can be bad for you

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/06/2017

It's better not to have meals in front of the TV because you're likely to eat too much.

That's one of the key findings from research commissioned by the Ministry of Health and published in its new report How We Eat.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says it brings together a wide body of evidence and, for the first time, assesses what behaviours have the most impact.

"Making a few simple changes to how we eat can add up to significant benefits to our health," he said.

Key findings include:

* Avoid watching TV when eating - people tend to eat more in front of a screen

* It's important for adults to set a good example for children, especially eating fruit and vegetables

* Involve children in preparing meals and eating together as a family

* Eating a variety of foods and flavours when pregnant or breastfeeding - including bitter vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower - can help children accept vegetables in early childhood.

The research was carried out by Auckland University's Sarah Gerritsen and Clare Wall.

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