Does Watching TV Lead To Obesity?

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests there’s a causal link between watching junk food commercials on television and obesity. Alice Park reports for Time:

How much TV do your kids watch? If you don’t know, you might want to find out, say experts, since the time children spend in front of a TV or computer screen can have a profound effect on their physical and developmental health.

In a new policy statement on the role of media on obesity, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Council on Communications and Media warns parents that TV watching doesn’t just make children more sedentary, but also influences their eating habits, which in turn has consequences for their health. In other words, it’s not just that TV watching encourages youngsters to be less physically active, but it also exposes them to food advertisements that contribute to develop poor eating habits that can set kids up for health problems as adults.

“We created a perfect storm between media use, junk and fast food advertising, and physical inactivity,” says Dr. Victor Strasburger, professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and member of the AAP’s Council. “We created a situation where we now have more overweight and obese adults in the U.S, than underweight and normal weight adults; it’s become an urgent public health problem.”

The policy statement highlights the fact that the harms of TV viewing go beyond promoting inactivity. More studies have shown that children who spend more time in front of the tube are more likely to eat higher-calorie foods, drink sugared sodas and grow up to be overweight adults. In a U.K. study that followed children over 30 years into adulthood, for every additional hour of TV youngsters watched on weekends at age five, their risk of being obese as adults rose by 7%. And in some cases, it doesn’t even take that long for the extra pounds to accumulate: a Japanese study found that children who watched more TV at age three were more likely to be overweight at age six…

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44 Comments on "Does Watching TV Lead To Obesity?"

  1. RedHerring | Jun 28, 2011 at 1:19 am |

    There is no question it does. NONE.

  2. There is no question it does. NONE.

  3. No, of course the TV is not to blame.

    Lack of Personal Responsibility, Health Education and ultimately the lack of a proper Nutrition Plan causes Obesity. The first steps in addressing Obesity (in order) are Health Education and Personal Responsibility.

  4. No, of course the TV is not to blame.

    Lack of Personal Responsibility, Health Education and ultimately the lack of a proper Nutrition Plan causes Obesity. The first steps in addressing Obesity (in order) are Health Education and Personal Responsibility.

  5. No, of course the TV is not to blame.

    Lack of Personal Responsibility, Health Education and ultimately the lack of a proper Nutrition Plan causes Obesity. The first steps in addressing Obesity (in order) are Health Education and Personal Responsibility.

    • The same vein of saying, if you let your kids decide on your families eating habits(Mommy mommy! i want sugar-starch cereal!) instead of doing research and deciding on a healthy diet, then maybe there’s a problem

    • Penguins4life | Jun 28, 2011 at 12:49 am |

      But also what is important is parenting. Parents today are spineless and give their kids too much freedom and they go crazy with it. Not to mention bad habits they pick up and school and what they see from TV. I have seen babies being given coke in a baby bottle! On top of that look at the food we eat. I dont even know if its natural anymore…

  6. justagirl | Jun 28, 2011 at 2:06 am |

    all the times i was watching the tv and skinny!

  7. justagirl | Jun 27, 2011 at 10:06 pm |

    all the times i was watching the tv and skinny!

  8. DeepCough | Jun 28, 2011 at 2:09 am |

    It’s been well known that TV causes obesity: ever heard the term “couch potato?”

    As for the advertising angle, which states that ads for sugary, processed snacks, as opposed to fruits and veggies, are being targeted toward children, and that’s what they’re asking for, I have another adage: “Garbage in, garbage out.”

  9. DeepCough | Jun 27, 2011 at 10:09 pm |

    It’s been well known that TV causes obesity: ever heard the term “couch potato?”

    As for the advertising angle, which states that ads for sugary, processed snacks, as opposed to fruits and veggies, are being targeted toward children, and that’s what they’re asking for, I have another adage: “Garbage in, garbage out.”

  10. The same vein of saying, if you let your kids decide on your families eating habits(Mommy mommy! i want sugar-starch cereal!) instead of doing research and deciding on a healthy diet, then maybe there’s a problem

  11. The same vein of saying, if you let your kids decide on your families eating habits(Mommy mommy! i want sugar-starch cereal!) instead of doing research and deciding on a healthy diet, then maybe there’s a problem

  12. jackedu317 | Jun 28, 2011 at 2:57 am |

    this article should be titled, “we do what the T.V. tells us to do”…

    …the rest of them will watch television, and they’re goners.
    They’re gone. People who watch television won’t have a chance. It’s the
    greatest mind control tool ever devised…

                                                           
    Alan Watt – cutting through the matrix

  13. jackedu317 | Jun 27, 2011 at 10:57 pm |

    this article should be titled, “we do what the T.V. tells us to do”…

    …the rest of them will watch television, and they’re goners.
    They’re gone. People who watch television won’t have a chance. It’s the
    greatest mind control tool ever devised…

                                                           
    Alan Watt – cutting through the matrix

  14. RodBlogDanOVic | Jun 28, 2011 at 3:04 am |

    Oh, for the days when Disinfo had front page posts on the occult and UFOs. Snore.

  15. RodBlogDanOVic | Jun 27, 2011 at 11:04 pm |

    Oh, for the days when Disinfo had front page posts on the occult and UFOs. Snore.

    • dumbsaint | Jun 27, 2011 at 11:15 pm |

      Stay tuned! ufoccult.com

    • dumbsaint | Jun 27, 2011 at 11:15 pm |

      Stay tuned! ufoccult.com

    • backrollteeth | Jun 27, 2011 at 11:23 pm |

      got to buy their books for that now im assuming. I just read generation hex and it was pretty kool but more for the initiate. But I agree where is the good stuff.

    • backrollteeth | Jun 27, 2011 at 11:23 pm |

      got to buy their books for that now im assuming. I just read generation hex and it was pretty kool but more for the initiate. But I agree where is the good stuff.

  16. Anonymous | Jun 28, 2011 at 3:15 am |

    Stay tuned! ufoccult.com

  17. backrollteeth | Jun 28, 2011 at 3:23 am |

    got to buy their books for that now im assuming. I just read generation hex and it was pretty kool but more for the initiate. But I agree where is the good stuff.

  18. I always do this. “Obesity leads to tv watching” 

  19. I always do this. “Obesity leads to tv watching” 

  20. I always do this. “Obesity leads to tv watching” 

  21. fat friends make you fat. but I dont like making them feel bad about themselves.

  22. fat friends make you fat. but I dont like making them feel bad about themselves.

  23. fat friends make you fat. but I dont like making them feel bad about themselves.

  24. People are eating their televisions now?

  25. People are eating their televisions now?

  26. RodBlogDanOVic | Jun 28, 2011 at 4:05 am |

     Awesome, I love connective tissue.

  27. Penguins4life | Jun 28, 2011 at 4:49 am |

    But also what is important is parenting. Parents today are spineless and give their kids too much freedom and they go crazy with it. Not to mention bad habits they pick up and school and what they see from TV. I have seen babies being given coke in a baby bottle! On top of that look at the food we eat. I dont even know if its natural anymore…

  28. Dr David Kelly | Jun 28, 2011 at 4:53 am |

    Yeah it’s not so much a correlation as it is a predisposition.

  29. No. Eating too much food makes you a fat cunt.

  30. No. Eating too much food makes you a fat cunt.

  31. police dog | Jun 28, 2011 at 6:01 am |

    true true. I just like reversing stuff to see if it lead to insight.

  32. Anonymous | Jun 28, 2011 at 7:53 am |

    The act of watching television does not. 

    However, watching an excessive amount of television leads to inactivity, which leads to obesity, particularly when one considers most people are eating while watching television. 

    The act of watching television, though, might very well cause depression. 

  33. The act of watching television does not. 

    However, watching an excessive amount of television leads to inactivity, which leads to obesity, particularly when one considers most people are eating while watching television. 

    The act of watching television, though, might very well cause depression. 

  34. Anonymous | Jun 28, 2011 at 10:46 am |

    I watched tons of TV after school for a while, then I grew up and now I rarely spend any time in front of the TV except maybe 1 or 2 shows a week. The problem is that some people never find anything more constructive and just keep wasting their time. If you are inactive, you will get fat, especially as you chow down unhealthy snacks while watching your programs.

  35. I watched tons of TV after school for a while, then I grew up and now I rarely spend any time in front of the TV except maybe 1 or 2 shows a week. The problem is that some people never find anything more constructive and just keep wasting their time. If you are inactive, you will get fat, especially as you chow down unhealthy snacks while watching your programs.

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