Bedroom TV Viewing and Obesity in Kids

tv_bedroomA new study has established that there is a relationship between a child having and watching TV in the bedroom and childhood obesity, specifically high waist circumference.  The study analyzed 369 kids (aged 5-18), taking into account television-watching habits and physical factors such as waist circumference, resting blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, fat mass, and stomach fat.  Researchers found that kids with a TV in their bedroom were more likely to spend more time watching TV. They were also more likely than the kids without TVs in their room to have more fat and a higher waist circumference.  Kids who watched five or more hours a day were 2 times more likely to be in the top quartile for visceral adipose tissue mass. The study also found that a bedroom TV was associated with three times the odds of raised cardio-metabolic risk, elevated waist circumference, and elevated triglycerides.

If 5 hours of TV per day sounds like the amount that only a few kids are watching, this fact may surprise you: According to the study authors, the average American kid watches approximately 4.5 hours of TV per day, and as much as seventy percent of American kids have a TV in the bedroom. Data shows that about a third of kids aged 6-19 are considered obese.

Reducing kids’ TV time may be more difficult than one would expect: A recent report found that interventions aimed at reducing children’s television and video game time thus far have been largely unsuccessful. The report looked at 13 large studies comprised of 3000 children total and found that the studies were unable to achieve weight loss and weight reduction. Some tips given were: for families to commit to not eating in front of the TV, to switch to sugarless beverages, and encourage children to participate in sports and other structured fitness activities. Based on the results of the new study, it is safe to say that keeping the TV out of kids’ bedrooms may also help to reduce childhood obesity and specific health risks such as high waist circumference.

Related Reading:  Zip Code Affects Childhood Obesity Rates

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