Limiting TV time—Effective strategy for preventing weight gain in children

Reducing television viewing may be an effective strategy to prevent excess weight gain among adolescents, according to a new study released in the September/October 2012 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Findings were based on a one-year community-based randomized trial that enrolled 153 adults and 72 adolescents from the same households. During that year, researchers from the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health Obesity Prevention Center conducted six face-to-face group meetings, sent monthly newsletters, and set-up 12 home-based activities. In addition, each household agreed to allow researchers to attach a "TV Allowance" to all televisions in the household for the one-year study period. hours, diet, and physical activity levels were measured before and after the intervention.

A clear association was observed among adolescents between reduction in TV hours and decreased weight gain over one year. The TV hours' impact on weight gain was not significant for adults. These findings suggest that television viewing is a risk for excess weight gain among adolescents. The implication is that parents who limit their adolescents' television viewing may help their adolescent maintain a healthy body weight. According to data [NHANES] 2003-2006, about 31% of US children and adolescents are overweight or obese, therefore finding the causes for weight gain in this population is growing increasingly important.

According to Simone A. French, PhD, principal investigator of this study and the Director of the University of Minnesota's Center, "We tried to intervene on behaviors that are related to , such as television viewing, sugar-sweetened , physical activity, and consumption of packaged convenience foods. Although the individual contribution of each of these behaviors to excess weight gain and obesity may be small, it is important to examine their possible role individually and together in promoting excess weight gain. Associations between these behaviors and risk for excess weight gain may differ among adults and adolescents because of their different physical and social developmental stages."

"This study is an important piece of evidence that reducing TV hours is a powerful weight gain prevention strategy parents can use to help prevent excess weight gain among their children by changing the home environment and household television viewing norms."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Less sleep, more TV leads to overweight infants and toddlers

Apr 07, 2008

Infants and toddlers who sleep less than 12 hours a day are twice as likely to become overweight by age 3 than children who sleep longer. In addition, high levels of television viewing combined with less sleep elevates the ...

Recommended for you

With kids in school, parents can work out

4 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Back-to-school time provides an opportunity for parents to develop an exercise plan that fits into the family schedules, an expert suggests.

Obama offers new accommodations on birth control

8 hours ago

The Obama administration will offer a new accommodation to religious nonprofits that object to covering birth control for their employees. The measure allows those groups to notify the government, rather than their insurance ...

Use a rule of thumb to control how much you drink

8 hours ago

Sticking to a general rule of pouring just a half glass of wine limits the likelihood of overconsumption, even for men with a higher body mass index. That's the finding of a new Iowa State and Cornell University ...

User comments