When a youngster has a television in the bedroom, it means less sleep and more time watching the tube. It also means a greater risk of spending a lifetime as an overweight adult.
The average American child from age 8 to 18 watches about 4.5 hours of TV every single day. Seventy percent have a TV in the bedroom, and about one-third of those aged 6 to 19 are heavy enough to be considered obese. Studies have shown that TV viewing time during childhood and adolescence continues into adulthood, resulting in overweight and elevated total cholesterol.
Now, a study at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., reports that a TV in the bedroom more than doubles the risk that a kid will grow up to be extremely obese.
“There was a stronger association between having a TV in the bedroom versus TV viewing time, with the adiposity and health outcomes,” notes study co-author Amanda Staiano. “A bedroom TV may create additional disruptions to healthy habits, above and beyond regular TV viewing. For instance, having a bedroom TV is related to lower amounts of sleep and lower prevalence of regular family meals, independent of total TV viewing time. Both short sleep duration and lack of regular family meals have been related to weight gain and obesity.”