Bedroom TVs may lead to more screen time, sedentary behavior, less parental support of physical activity and increased fast food intake. A recent study claims that children with TVs in their bedrooms have more chances of being overweight. It was suggested that the exposure to unhealthy lifestyles and food marketing by watching TV can dramatically exacerbate the situation among kids.
During the study, experts send surveys to 315 West Texas parents of 597 children between the age group of 5 to 9 years. These children were either in kindergarten, first or second grade. Information on children’s weight, age, gender and BMI was gathered via the sent surveys. Scientists noted that 70 percent of the kids had a TV in their bedroom, and 32 percent were already overweight or at risk for becoming overweight due to unhealthy behaviors.
Those with TVs in their bedrooms apparently spent 3.5 hours a day in front of the screen, while kids who did not have a TV in their room spent 2.58 hours daily. Children without personal TVs also had parents who seemingly encouraged physical activity. Having a personal TV supposedly promotes the intake of more sugar-sweetened drinks and fast food and less inclusion of fruits as well as veggies.
Even though these behaviors contribute to obesity, the study does not associate bedroom TV watching with being overweight or having a higher BMI. Du Feng, Ph.D., who is the lead study author and colleagues believe that TV in the bedroom also leads to the disruption of sleep. Apart from exclusion of the bedroom TV, family health education also appears important.
The study appears online and will be published in the May-June issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.