TV Link to Obesity?

Posted on September 13, 2005

The BBC has a news story about a study that has linked television watching to weight gain in children. The study reported in the International Journal of Obesity followed a group of 1,000 children and found that the 41% of the kids that were overweight or obese by the age of 26 were the ones that watched the most television.
All the 1,000 children studied were born between April 1972 and March 1973.

At age five, seven, nine and 11, parents were asked how much TV they watched. At ages 13 and 15, the teenagers themselves were questioned.

Between the ages of five and 15, children were found to watch an average of 2.33 hours of TV per weeknight. Aged 13 to 15, they watched an average of 24.6 per week. At each age, the amount of TV watched was consistent with the child's BMI.

The links were stronger in girls, which the researchers say may be linked to the differences in lifestyle and physical make-up of between teenage boys and girls.
The study used the BMI index to measure obesity which many athletes complain about because it unfairly labels them as overweight. However, the sedentary nature of tv watching has been linked with weight gain in previous studies. It does seem like common sense that too much tv watching combined with little or no physical activity could lead to weight problems.