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Excessive TV Viewing Leads to Kids Making Wrong Food Choices

Update Date: May 11, 2012 05:01 PM EDT

It's difficult to get a kid to stop watching the television. A report, which was conducted by researchers from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and published in the May issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, shows a possible link between television viewing and unhealthy eating habits among adolescents.

Children and teens who watch too much of television are more likely to lose out on their nutritional intake as they prefer gauging on snacks, sodas and candies rather than fruits and vegetables. This is mainly because they spend a lot of time in front of the television and prefer nibbling at fast food items rather than having a whole meal.

While researchers do see a possible link between television viewing and poor food choices among children and teens, they are yet to find out which one comes first; excessive television watching or poor eating habits. However, the study did show one thing for sure. When television viewing time was cut down among children, they tend to eat less, lose weight and eat healthier.

"It certainly is consistent with the idea that TV is maybe adversely affecting dietary intake and food choices," said Leah Lipsky and colleague Ronald Iannotti, who worked on the new study at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver national Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Explaining the study further, the author states: "Television viewing time was associated with lower odds of consuming fruit or vegetables daily and higher odds of consuming candy and sugar-sweetened soda daily, skipping breakfast at least one day per week and eating at a fast food restaurant at least one day per week in models adjusted for computer use, physical activity, age, sex, race/ethnicity and family affluence. The relationship of TV with this unhealthy combination of eating behaviors may contribute to the documented relationship of TV with cardio metabolic risk factors." 

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