Does TV in the Bedroom Increase Childhood Obesity?

Updated: 8/22/18 A recent study in 2017 by scientists at the University College London suggests that children who have television sets in their bedrooms are more likely to be overweight than children who do not.

The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, analyzed data from over 12,000 young children in the United Kingdom that indicated if the children had a TV in their bedroom or not.  A parent rating of how many hours per day the children spent in general, watching television, was also analyzed.  The first astonishing fact, was that more than half of the children had TVs in their bedrooms at the age of 7.

A few years later, when the children were at the age of 11, researchers analyzed their body mass index and looked at their percentage of body fat.

Girls who had TVs in their bedrooms at the age of seven were 30% more likely to be overweight when they were 11, compared to children who did not have TVs in their bedrooms.  For boys, the risk was increased by around 20%.  This data shows that there is a link between having a TV in the bedroom as a child and being overweight a few years later.

This link is not clear, but the researchers suggest it may be a result of children getting less sleep due to watching TV or eating too many snacks in front of the television screen.  They hypothesize that girls have a stronger link because they are less physically active at this age than boys.

Researchers encourage strategies to prevent childhood obesity to do more to tackle this issue.

Writing in the journal, they say: "While our screens have become flatter, our children have become fatter."

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