HAVING dinner table rules, such as 'no mobile phones can help children to lose weight and avoid obesity, a researcher has claimed. Dr Barbara Fiese, who is director of the University of Illinois Family Resiliency Centre, argues: Family mealtimes, when theyre done right, are linked to many benefits for children, including a reduced risk of substance abuse, eating disorders, and obesity. Setting basic rules, including no television, and encouraging communication, can have positive benefits for childrens health and their diet, Dr Fiese argues. She and her team videotaped 200 families, and observed their actions during family meals. When table rules were followed children experienced health benefits. Those with asthma found their symptoms were less severe, and they were more apt to take their medicine. While Dr Fiese may very well be right, there is some evidence to suggest that certain dinner etiquette can actually contribute to obesity. Last year researchers from the UK found that more than 80% of people they questioned always ate everything on their plate: right down to the last bite. Most of the respondents said this was a habit that had been instilled in them since childhood, and that they thought of it as good manners. However, following this rule religiously can mean overeating, past the point where you are full, and to the point where you are likely to pile on the pounds. WeightWorld