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Stanford Medicine

Health and Fitness, Pediatrics

Does TV watching, or prolonged sitting, contribute to child obesity rates?

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Past studies have suggested that children’s TV habits can adversely affect their nutrition and weight. Moreover, research has show that the hours teens spend in front of the TV can lead to poor diet choices later in life.

But are these health risks a result of watching TV or of inactivity while gazing at the screen? This question and research on how sedentary behavior physically affect the body was explored in a blog post today on Obesity Panacea. Travis Saunders writes:

Although it’s impact on food intake is very important, TV wathching (like all forms of sedentary behaviour) is also likely to result in rapid changes in skeletal muscle function, causing dramatic increases in metabolic risk, even for lean or otherwise physically active individuals. The good news? Animal research suggests that simply walking at a leisurely pace may be enough to rapidly return these metabolic risk factors to normal levels.

Previously: Kids more likely to watch lots of TV if their parents do too, TV watching linked to aggression in tots and Research links watching TV to an increased risk of death
Photo by {N}Duran

One Response to “ Does TV watching, or prolonged sitting, contribute to child obesity rates? ”

  1. Dr. Evile Says:

    I just can’t believe how this is still a question. Really? Do we really need to continue “researching” this?

    There’s very little good that comes out of kids’ watching hours of TV in many, many respects. From the inactivity, to the “being advertised to”/brainwashed, to wasting time not studying or practicing something, to learning aggression…on and on and on. It’s not one or the other—it’s ALL of it!

    Let’s move on!

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