If you have one of those kids who hates both doing anything on schedule and everything you put on their dinner plate, researchers from Kings College in London have some good news for you: Kids who eat dinner after 8 PM don’t appear to be any more at risk of becoming overweight than kids who ate when they were supposed to — after you got home and before you also became hangry.
Using data collected from the U.K.’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme (their spelling, not yours) from 2008 to 2012, the study looked at food diaries of 1,620 of kids — lord knows how many different spellings they saw for “spaghetti.” Individual BMIs were also tracked and researchers found that kids who ate between 8 PM and 10 PM didn’t become more obese than kids who ate between 2 PM and 8 PM. Unfortunately, they did not look at if the kids eating dinner at 2 PM were at greater risk of becoming their grandparents, but that may not be a risk you’re willing to take.
Because the data was pulled from a general nutritional survey and not one focusing solely on mealtimes, the main limitation of the study was the small sample size of kids eating later — only 6 percent of boys and 9 percent of girls. Still, the findings give you good reason not to sweat it if you have to chase your kid in a circle around the couch until 8:30 before you get them duct taped to a chair at the dinner table. The only bad news is that you don’t have the metabolism of your kid, and these findings most certainly don’t also apply to you. So, close the refrigerator and go to bed.