: A TV in the Bedroom Is Linked to Weight Gain in Youth
In a recent national study in JAMA Pediatrics, Dartmouth researchers found that having a television in the bedroom was a significant predictor of adolescent weight gain.
Data from 6,522 individuals aged 10 to 14 years from all 50 states. Participants were asked about their TV habits, height and weight, and other relevant measures. Follow-up surveys were conducted two and four years later. A bedroom television, present in 59 percent of cases, was associated with a higher change in body mass index.
“The study suggests that removing bedroom TVs is an important step in our nation’s fight against obesity,” report researchers. “We found that adolescents with a TV in their bedroom gained about 1 extra pound a year, compared to those without one, even after accounting for hours of TV watched each day and socioeconomic factors.”
“Because bedroom televisions are really common in the US (over half of adolescents have one), this obesity risk factor accounts for over 15 million pounds of excess weight gain per year among US adolescents,” says study author Diane Gilbert-Diamond.
Parents can make a difference by simply keeping televisions out of their children’s bedrooms. “Get rid of the TV while children are still in elementary school,” says James Sargent, a pediatrician and collaborator on the study. “You will all go through a couple weeks of complaining and misery, and then everyone will forget that it was there in the first place.”
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