(U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT) — A new study out today says parents of preschoolers can do three simple things — regulate meals, bedtime and screen time — and not only improve their child’s emotional health, but also substantially cut down on the likelihood their child will be obese.

Previous studies have shown that the risk of obesity for children decreased when preschoolers got enough sleep, ate meals with their families, and had limits on their screen time. The new research is the first to ever take a look at family structure routines and health outcomes in their preteen years.

The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, found a link between those early, preschool routines and the ability for very young children to learn how to self-regulate their emotions, and later on with problems regarding weight gain and obesity.

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