Study directly links TV watching with eating habits

May 8, 2012 5:50:59 AM PDT
It's a battle that most parents face - keeping their kids from watching too much television.

Now, new research shows a direct link between television viewing and eating habits.

"A relationship between increased viewing time and an increased intake of high fat, high sugar, high sodium foods, increased soda intake, even skipping breakfast," said Registered Dietitian Carrie Gonzales, of the Cleveland Clinic

Researchers with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development studied the TV viewing and eating habits of nearly 13,000 students, grades 5 through 10.

Results show kids who watched more television had lower odds of eating fruits and vegetables and were more likely to fill up on candy and sugar-sweetened soda. And parents, as always, are the first line of defense.

"You have to take a look and take a step back and ask who's providing the food at home?" Gonzales said. "Kids are influenced by their friends when they're a little bit older, but also taking a look at not just what's being seen on TV, but really looking at what's in our cupboards."

As for adults, a study by professors in Canada put an actual number on possible weight gain associated with television watching.

Adults who watched more than two hours of TV a day could increase their daily caloric intake by 137 calories. Although this doesn't sound like much, it can equal out to be about an extra 14 pounds per of weight per year.

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