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TV in Bedroom - Risk Factor for Children's Weight

By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

New research published in the International Journal of Obesity confirms that children who have a TV in their bedroom are more likely to be overweight.

American researchers questioned 2,343 children aged between 9 and 12 years and one of their parents.

As well as calculating each child’s Body Mass Index (BMI), they also identified whether or not the child had a TV in his or her bedroom.

The researchers discovered that 22 percent of the children included in the survey were overweight and almost half – 48 percent – had a TV in their bedroom. Those children with a TV in their bedroom had a higher BMI on average and were significantly more likely to be overweight than those children without a TV – 27 percent compared with 18 percent.

These findings remained even when other lifestyle factors such as activity levels and the amount of time spent watching TV or using the Internet were taken into consideration.

The researchers conclude that having a television in the bedroom is a risk factor for overweight and obesity.

WLR says:

Many studies have shown that the more hours children and adults spend watching TV the more likely they are to be overweight or obese. This study simply adds to the wealth of information that already exists in this area.

The most obvious explanation is that watching TV is a sedentary activity, which replaces other calorie-burning activities, such as playing with other children or taking part in sport. Removing the TV from the bedroom may cause arguments and tantrums in the short term but it could help to stop your child from becoming overweight in the long term so it has to be worth it.

It’s crucial that you encourage the entire family to be more active. As well as helping you to shape up, it will also help to teach your children the importance of leading an active lifestyle. Plus most of the activities you can do together are great fun, helping to reduce tension that can lead to family arguments. For fun ideas on how to get fit as a family, click on Fit Kids.

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