Bedroom TVs can increase risk for obesity and diabetes in children

Better move that flatscreen to the office.

If your children have televisions in their bedrooms, a new study says they might be more at risk for becoming obese and developing weight-related health problems.

Specifically, the study found that a higher waist circumference--a factor often associated with diabetes risk--went hand-in-hand with watching TV in the bedroom.

Lead investigator Peter T. Katzmarzyk, PhD, explains: "The established association between TV and obesity is predominantly based on BMI. The association between TV and fat mass, adiposity stored in specific depots (including abdominal subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue), and cardiometabolic risk, is less well understood."

More time spent watching TV linked to greater amounts of fat

The study followed 369 children between the ages of 5 and 18 over a period of one year. The sample size included variations in gender, ethnicity and BMI status. Children who had a TV in the bedroom were found to have greater waist circumferences, as well as more fat and subcutaneous adipose tissue than kids who did not have a TV in the bedroom.

Since children with TVs in the bedroom tend to watch more TV, researchers note that the study has serious health implications for this population. The more hours a child watched TV per day, the higher his or her fat mass levels were. However, the most critical factor that determined obesity risk--at least in this study--was having the TV in the bedroom, regardless of how much it was watched.

Why bedroom TVs are bad for your health

"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," said study co-author Amanda Staiano, PhD.

Source: Science Daily

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