Bedroom TV Viewing Increases Risk of Obesity in Children

More than two hours of TV a day adds significantly to children’s waist size, American Journal of Preventive Medicine reports

San Diego, CA, December 11, 2012 – The average American child from age 8 to 18 watches about 4.5 hours of TV each day. Seventy percent have a TV in the bedroom and about one-third of youth aged 6-19 is considered obese. Previous studies have shown that TV viewing time during childhood and adolescence continues into adulthood, resulting in overweight and elevated total cholesterol. An investigative team from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA reports new study findings, establishing the relationship between having and watching TV in the bedroom and childhood obesity, specifically high waist circumference.

“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,” says lead investigator Peter T. Katzmarzyk, PhD. “It is hypothesized that higher levels of TV viewing and the presence of a TV in the bedroom are associated with depot-specific adiposity and cardiometabolic risk.”

Between 2010 and 2011, 369 children and adolescents aged 5-18 in Baton Rouge, representing a balance between gender, ethnicity, age, and BMI status, were evaluated for a variety of factors, such as waist circumference, resting blood pressure, fasting triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and glucose, fat mass, and stomach fat.

Statistical analysis of the data developed produced two models. Together, these models revealed that children with a TV in the bedroom were more likely to watch more TV. These children also were shown to have more fat and subcutaneous adipose tissue mass, as well as higher waist circumference, when compared with their peers who did not have a bedroom TV. Study participants with a TV in the bedroom and those who watched TV more than two hours a day were each associated with up to 2.5 times the odds of the highest levels of fat mass. Viewing five or more hours a day produced an association of two times the odds of being in the top quartile for visceral adipose tissue mass. Further, a bedroom TV associated with three times the odds of elevated cardiometabolic risk, elevated waist circumference, and elevated triglycerides.

“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, PhD. “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.”

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Notes for editors
“Television, Adiposity, and Cardiometabolic Risk in Children and Adolescents,” by Amanda E. Staiano, PhD; Deirdre M. Harrington, PhD; Stephanie T. Broyles, PhD; Alok K. Gupta, MD; Peter T. Katzmarzyk, PhD (DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.09.049). It appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 44, Issue 1 (January 2013), published by Elsevier.

Full text of the article is available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Beverly Lytton at +1-858-534-9340 oreAJPM@ucsd.edu. Journalists wishing to interview the authors should contact Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk at Pennington Biomedical Research Center at +1-225-763-2536 or Peter.Katzmarzyk@pbrc.edu.

About the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
The American Journal of Preventive Medicine is the official journal of The American College of Preventive Medicine and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research. It publishes articles in the areas of prevention research, teaching, practice and policy. Original research is published on interventions aimed at the prevention of chronic and acute disease and the promotion of individual and community health. The journal features papers that address the primary and secondary prevention of important clinical, behavioral and public health issues such as injury and violence, infectious disease, women's health, smoking, sedentary behaviors and physical activity, nutrition, diabetes, obesity, and alcohol and drug abuse. Papers also address educational initiatives aimed at improving the ability of health professionals to provide effective clinical prevention and public health services. The journal also publishes official policy statements from the two co-sponsoring organizations, health services research pertinent to prevention and public health, review articles, media reviews, and editorials.

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, with an Impact Factor of 4.044, is ranked 12th out of 157 Public, Environmental and Occupational Health titles and 17th out of 153 General & Internal Medicine titles according to the 2011 Journal Citation Reports® published by Thomson Reuters.

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Media contact
Beverly Lytton
+1-858-534-9340
eAJPM@ucsd.edu