March 4, 2014
Bedroom TVs Linked To Weight Gain In Kids
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Does your child have a television in their bedroom? Then they may be at an increased risk for getting fat.
According to a study published on Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, children between the ages of 10 and 14 who had a TV in their bedroom weighed around one pound more than their peers without a bedroom TV. The study found that the additional weight was unrelated to how much TV kids watched in their bedrooms.
The study included over 3,000 children that researchers tracked over a four-year period. The children’s body mass index, which is based in their height and weight, was determined at the outset, two-year mark and four-year mark. Researchers also conducted telephone interviews with parents to determine kids’ TV and video game habits.
In addition to finding out that kids with bedroom TVs weighed more on average – the study team also found that the average weight increased each year. The researchers noted that the study did not determine that a TV in the bedroom was a cause of obesity – simply that there appeared to be a connection. They added that bedroom TVs were more common in households where the parents had a lower education level.
The study team speculated that a bedroom TV could be disrupting sleep patterns and making the children less healthy.
The researchers also said the bedroom TVs could be exposing children to more junk food advertising. A study published in December by the journal Childhood Obesity found that the nutritional value of food and beverages advertised on children’s television programs is much lower than the food products advertised during general programming.
“This study suggests that removing bedroom televisions may be an important step in our nation’s fight against child obesity,” study author Diane Gilbert-Diamond, an assistant professor of family medicine at Dartmouth University, told the Daily Mail.
The researchers pointed out the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that parents do not put a TV in their child’s bedroom. They also noted that the study was conducted in 2003 – when television was a more predominant form of media.
“The medical landscape for children is rapidly changing, and future studies should also evaluate whether other types of electronic media devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers, also contribute to weight gain,” Gilbert-Diamond said.
Another study published in JAMA Pediatrics this week found that children who played more active video games and were given information about healthy eating habits lost weight.
The video game study included a 16-week clinical trial of preteens who were considered overweight from schools in Texas, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The participants were split into two groups: one was provided a gaming system and active video games that require motions captured by an electronic device, while the other group was given the same systems but with less active games.
The group that was given the active games was found to have a 50 percent higher reduction in relative weight and BMI.