Tuesday, October 07, 2008

How TVs in Kids' Rooms Raise Obesity Risk

Mea culpa - thanks to the Canadian contingent at this year's Obesity Society conference, I've probably had too many drinks (Thanks to Arya, Dawn, Tara and Danielle) and someone told me once that I shouldn't drink and blog. Of course if you have a daily blog, sometimes you might not have as much choice as you'd want.

Life of course includes occasional indulgences and given that I've got two beautiful little girls and a busy office, my once a month or so nights out are certainly welcome.

The conference was wonderful as always and certainly got me thinking.

I heard a talk the other day regarding childhood obesity and it recounted how dramatically the risk of childhood obesity rises when a child has a television set in their room.

It's such a dramatic increase in risk (I believe in the neighbourhood of a 61% increase in relative risk) that I was never able to understand the mechanism behind it as the studies will generally control for dietary intake and some lifestyle factors suggesting an almost magical response to advertising.

I'm not sure anyone knows the answer but this conference made me wonder, could it simply be that kids with TVs in their bedrooms sleep far less because they're busy watching TV all night long?

Stay tuned this week for some debriefing from the conference, including my review of the Heart Attack Grill.

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  1. Less sleeping, definitely. But I think the biggest contributor to the obesity + TV-in-kids'-bedrooms scenario is likely the additional unmonitored snacking in bed.

    Check for things like wrappers stuffed between mattresses, under the bed, crumbs in the sheets.

    Strategies for parents (besides removing TVs from kids' rooms) to minimize late-night TV watching could be to utilize the parental controls that are built in to the TVs (which is effective until kids figure out how to disable them) like sleep timers, auto off, etc.


  2. I respect that some like this idea but for our family it would never happen. I like monitoring their TV time and mostly .. I like having my children with us socializing instead of tucked away in their room all the time, watching TV.

  3. Anonymous2:28 pm

    I love the picture! I'd like to hear from parents who have put TV's in their chidren's bedrooms. What was the reason for doing so?


  4. I don't have any kids yet (1 on the way) but I don't think my wife and I would ever want a TV in our kids' room. I also am curious to find out the reasons that some might do that...

  5. It`s the snacking that`s a problem. You grab a snack because you`re hungry, you turn on the TV, you finish the snack but the TV show isn`t done...so, at the commercial you grab a second snack...result: weight gain.

    I had a TV in my room for one year in highschool and I noticed weight gain.