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SafetyAlerts
October 10, 2001

Watching TV May Be Related to Poor Quality Diet and Increased Risk of Child Obesity
 

Three Studies Presented Identify Implications of Television Watching
 

 (SafetyAlerts) -  The number of overweight children in the U.S. has more than doubled since the early 1970's, according to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Several factors are responsible for the obesity epidemic in children. Research that will be presented today at the annual North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO) meeting in Quebec City, Canada, highlights the relationship between television watching and the development of obesity in children.

"These new studies provide a clearer understanding of exactly how television watching contributes to obesity in children," says Samuel Klein, M.D., chairman of the NAASO Public Affairs Committee and professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. "The findings show that watching television not only prevents physical activity but also promotes unhealthy snacking and consumption of less nutritious meals." Among the findings being presented:

A group of 1,478 parents in New York State, with children between the age of one and five, were surveyed regarding their TV watching habits and diets. Children who watched television during dinner and snacked while watching television -- practices that are greatly influenced by their parents -- consumed less milk, fruits and vegetables than those who turned off the television at dinnertime and didn't snack while watching television. "The quality of children's diets varies depending on their television viewing habits," says Barbara A. Dennison, M.D., senior scientist at the Bassett Research Institute in Cooperstown, N.Y., associate professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Columbia University, New York, N.Y., and lead investigator. "We believe that the poor quality diets associated with television watching explains, in part, the long-recognized association between television viewing and obesity."

As a part of the same study, Dr. Dennison found that children who had a television in their bedroom watched more television than children who did not. In addition, children with a television in their bedroom were more likely to be overweight than those without. "Placing a television in a child's bedroom offers more opportunity for television watching and, based on our findings, is yet another risk factor for childhood obesity," reports Dr. Dennison.

Researchers at The Pennsylvania State University followed a group of 186 girls from age five until age seven. The study showed that girls who watched more television snacked more frequently and had higher fat intakes from snack foods, which in turn was associated with excessive increases in body weight between the ages of five and seven. "Our results provide evidence that excessive television viewing is a risk factor for obesity in children," says Lori A. Francis, research assistant and lead researcher, "to the extent that it may promote snacking patterns associated with overweight."

The North American Association for Study of Obesity (NAASO) is a leading scientific society dedicated to the study of obesity. NAASO is committed to encouraging research on the causes, treatment, and prevention of obesity, and to keeping the scientific community and public informed of new advances in the field.

Source: PRNewswire.

 
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The information contained herein has been obtained from sources that the Company believes to be reliable, however, the Company has not independently verified or confirmed the information and the recipient acknowledges that no representations or warranties are being made in connection with the use of the information.