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Television Viewing and Obesity in Children

Dr Gowher Yusuf

Dr Gowher Yusuf

  Hal 3rd stage, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   5 min     



Children spend a considerable part of their lives viewing television. Some children conduce to associate food with television and several times reject to eat without the TV. This begins to dangerous behavioural problems and mealtime stresses. Not only that children who consume only in front of the TV screen do not learn to adapt their feeding practices, i.e. they do not understand their hunger signals and do not discern as to when their stomach is full. This further drives to complications concerning eating. 

Children who view television extravagantly tend to put on weight as they are sedentary or inactive, and tend to snack (unwholesome or unhealthy food and empty-calorie soft drinks). These children are so much engaged in their favourite shows that they do not give consideration to their inner cues and hereafter tend to consume more which in turn drives them to weight gain

Effect Of Television Viewing While Eating Food

Researches have distinguished a relationship between watching television (TV) and childhood obesity. This study attaches context to an existing investigation by examining the connections between TV viewing, whilst eating, and children's intake quality. Watching television tends to raise the amount of food that kids generally eat, and more time spent sitting in front of a screen means less time spent performing physical activity. There is data to support both of these consequences in children, and it's not sufficient to know that TV viewing points to obesity, but instead, we need to understand why it does if we wish to interrupt and slow the obesity plague. 

We attempted to compare the dietary habits during television viewing of children who were regarded to have normal weight, overweight, or obesity and hypothesized that eating of unhealthy foods during television screen viewing would be connected to having obesity.

Moreover, children with obesity ate fast food and fruits and vegetables more often while watching TV, as compared to children with normal weight or overweight. More frequent food eating during TV viewing has the probability of affecting energy balance in children adversely.

Television Viewing and Childhood Obesity

Studies that go in pursuit of children over long periods of time have consistently observed that the more television children watch, the more probable they are to gain extra weight. Children who have television sets in their bedrooms are also more expected to gain excessive weight than children who don’t. And there’s proof that early television habits may have long-lasting influences: Two research that tracked children from birth noticed that TV watching in childhood predicts obesity risk considerably into adulthood and mid-life. 

Some trials intended to lessen children’s TV use have detected improvements in body mass index (BMI), body fat, and other obesity-related dimensions. Based on this data, the researchers recommend that populations roll out behaviour-change programs intended at restricting screen time since there’s “sufficient evidence” that such programs do support decrease screen time and better weight.

Some of these successful TV-reduction experiments have been delivered through the schools: The Planet Health trial, for instance, adopted middle school classroom teachings to support less TV viewing, more liveliness, and improvements in the diet; compared to the control group, students indicated to take the lessons cut back on their TV time and had lower incidences of obesity in girls. 

Another experiment determined that third- and fourth-graders who endured an 18-lesson “TV turnoff” curriculum cut back on TV time and on meals consumed while watching TV, compared with children in the control group, and they had a corresponding reduction in BMI and other measures of body obesity. TV “allowance” tools, which regulate TV watching to a set figure of hours per week, may benefit limit children’s screen time, and in turn, assist with weight control. 

Television Viewing and Adult Obesity

There’s reasonable evidence in adults, too, that the more television people watch, the more possible they are to gain weight or become obese or overweight. And there’s a rising indication that too much TV watching also raises the risk of weight-related chronic illnesses. For instance, the Nurses’ Health Study tracked more than 50,000 middle-age women for six years. For every two hours, the women spent viewing television each day; they had a 23% greater risk of becoming overweight and a 14% greater uncertainty of developing diabetes

A more current report that reviewed the conclusions of this study and seven similar studies observed that for every two hours spent viewing TV, had acquired the risk of developing heart disease, developing diabetes and untimely death raised by 15, 20, and 13 per cent, respectively. 

TV reduction experiments have primarily centred on children, not adults. But small pilot research in 36 men and women intimates that an electronic TV “lock-out” device could assist grown-ups with weight control. Half of the volunteers were distributed to employ a lock-out device that would cut their TV watching time by half; the other half were attributed to a control group with no deadlines on TV. The volunteers who adopted the lock-out device viewed less television and burned more calories per day, and they had a more significant decline in BMI than the control group. However, the difference in BMI did not approach statistical significance. Provided the study’s small size, more experimentation is required to authenticate these results. 

What to do?

  • From an early age, parents should make it a habit to switch off all screens at mealtime.
  • Food should be served only at the dining table.
  • No distractions should be allowed during mealtime.
  • Parents themselves should model healthy eating behaviour in front of their children, as children learn by seeing not listening.

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Tags:  Child Care, Childhood Psychology , Eating Habits, Healthy food, Obesity, Physical Activities, ,TV watching during meals, TV during eating, childhood obesity, child overweight

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