Children who watch more TV are fatter

Feb 26, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Pre-school children who watch a lot of television are considerably fatter than those who don’t, according to a major new study.

Children who spend just an hour extra in front of the telly each day are on average one kilo fatter than their counterparts who watch less, scientists found.

But inactivity is not to blame says the University of Aberdeen team, following a three year study of 89 two to six-year-olds.

Instead the problem appears to lie with food intake. The researchers suggest that kids could be snacking unhealthily during viewing or are stimulated to eat by what they see on TV.

Dr Diane Jackson, of the University of Aberdeen's Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, led the research which has just been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

She said: "This data is part of the Rowett assessment of appetite and metabolism study or RASCAL study which set out to investigate the predictors of body fat in young children.

"As part of this we investigated whether TV viewing is associated with body fatness, physical activity and calories burned.

"Using a range of techniques, including a state of the art method which measures calories burned during daily life, we measured the children's physical activity levels, their body fat and how many calories they used.

"The results showed a clear positive link between how much time per day the children spent watching TV and how fat they were. Children who watched TV for 60 minutes more than other children in the study had approximately 1kg more body fat."

Professor John Speakman, Director of the Institute of Biological and Environmental Science at the University, who was also an author on the study, said: "On the face of it the link between TV watching and fatness might seem obvious - when children are sitting watching TV they are not burning up calories on physical activity.

"However we found it wasn't reduced physical activity that was making the children fatter. This means it was more probably a link with their food intake.

"This might occur because children eat unhealthy snacks while they are watching TV. Or it could be that what they are watching - perhaps adverts for fattening foods - stimulates their desire to eat."

Children involved in the study watched an average of two hours of TV a day.

Dr Jackson added: "Given that TV programming for young children has increased in recent years the relationship between TV viewing and diet may be a promising target for future obesity interventions."

Provided by University of Aberdeen

Explore further: Jamaica Senate starts debate on pot decriminalization bill

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cooperation among humans, a question of age

Jul 16, 2014

According to an article by scientists from the Universities of Barcelona, Carlos III of Madrid, and of Zaragoza which was published in the journal Nature Communications, young people between the ages of ten ...

Robots may need to include parental controls

Apr 30, 2014

Older adults' fears that companion robots will negatively affect young people may create design challenges for developers hoping to build robots for older users, according to Penn State researchers.

Wearable computing goes to the dogs

Jun 05, 2013

The wearable computing craze went to the dogs on Wednesday with startup Whistle introducing a smart pendant that tracks physical activity levels and sleep patterns in canines.

Recommended for you

Jamaica Senate starts debate on pot decriminalization bill

22 hours ago

Jamaica's Senate on Friday started debating a bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot and establish a licensing agency to regulate a lawful medical marijuana industry on the island where the drug ...

Can Lean Management improve hospitals?

Jan 30, 2015

Waiting times in hospital emergency departments could be cut with the introduction of Lean Management and Six Sigma techniques according to new research.

Research finds 90 percent of home chefs contaminate food

Jan 30, 2015

If you're gearing up for a big Super Bowl bash, you might want to consult the best food-handling practices before preparing that feast. New research from Kansas State University finds that most home chefs drop the ball on ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Arkaleus
not rated yet Feb 27, 2009
Destroy your television. It's killing our minds and bodies.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.