Less TV and Computer Use Helps Prevent Child Obesity

March 4, 2008

Reductions in television viewing and computer use by young children can help prevent obesity, because of changes in energy intake rather than physical activity, according to study findings published in the March issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

<p>TUESDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- Reductions in television viewing and computer use by young children can help prevent obesity, because of changes in energy intake rather than physical activity, according to study findings published in the March issue of the <i>Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine</i>.</p><p>Leonard H. Epstein, Ph.D., of the State University of New York at Buffalo, and colleagues conducted a study of 70 children aged 4 to 7 years who were randomized to an intervention to reduce television and computer use by half, or a control group. They were followed up for two years and every six months their age- and sex-standardized body mass index (zBMI), television viewing, energy intake and physical activity were monitored.</p><p>Compared with the control group, children in the intervention group had greater reductions in their zBMI, energy intake and sedentary behavior. The intervention worked best in reducing zBMI among children from low-socioeconomic status families. Cutting back on television reduced energy intake but did not boost physical activity.</p><p>"Reducing television viewing could affect energy intake by minimizing cues to eat and by decreasing exposure to television advertising," the authors write. "There may be unique advantages to environmental manipulations that modify the shared family environment, including television and computer use, in which children develop positive behaviors that provide the basis for lifetime good eating and physical activity habits."</p><p>Epstein is a consultant for Kraft Foods.</p><p><a href=" http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/162/3/239" target="_new">Abstract</a><br/><a href=" http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/162/3/239" target="_new">Full Text</a><br/><a href=" http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/extract/162/3/283" target="_new">Editorial</a></p>

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