TV habit linked to obesity in children

07 February 2020

Watching television had the strongest association with being overweight and obese, say researchers.

Children who were less active and spent more time in front of the television aged four were at greater risk of being overweight or obese or having metabolic syndrome at seven. Researchers also measured the time spent by the children on other sedentary activities, such as reading or drawing, which did not appear to be associated with overweight or obesity.

The study, published in Pediatric Obesity, was based on data from 1480 Spanish children. Researchers analysed five lifestyle habits: physical activity, sleep time, television time, plant-based food consumption and ultra-processed food consumption. Parents completed questionnaires on the children’s lifestyle habits at four years of age, and their body mass index, waist circumference and blood pressure were measured at ages four and seven.

‘Identifying habits linked to overweight and obesity in the early stages of life can help us to define preventive strategies,’ said lead author Rowaedh Bawaked.


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