Parents, it’s time to get the TV out of your kids’ bedroom.
About 60 percent of all teenagers’ bedrooms in the U.S. include a TV set. Now research suggests that the mere presence of that TV in the bedroom is linked with weight gain—regardless of how long a youngster’s eyes are glued to the small screen.
The finding comes from phone surveys of more than 6,000 kids across the country that probed for details on height, weight and television practices. Even when the researchers controlled for factors including age, sex, socioeconomic status, video game playing and parenting style their discovery was confirmed: a bedroom TV was clearly linked with heavier weight. The study is in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. [Diane Gilbert-Diamond et al., Association of a Television in the Bedroom With Increased Adiposity Gain in a Nationally Representative Sample of Children and Adolescents]
The jury is still out on why the link exists. The researchers suggest the weight gain could stem from sleep disruption—since shorter sleep times are associated with putting on pounds. Another trigger could be increased exposure to junk food ads targeting kids.
Limiting TV time requires consistent oversight. But simply moving the TV from the bedroom is an easy fix. It’ll burn some calories too.
—Dina Fine Maron
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]