Media and Childhood Obesity

Role of media in child obesity

media and childhood obesityIn today’s world of technological advances, media plays a vital role in influencing childhood obesity. Children spend a considerable portion of their lives with media. Several studies have found a positive connection between the times spent with media and increased prevalence of obesity in children. Obesity is greater among children and adolescents who often spend a considerable amount of time with media, not only because little energy (see energy imbalance) is spent while viewing but also because of simultaneous consumption of high-calorie foods (see childhood obesity & food).

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television childhood obesity
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Researchers have hypothesized that television and media causes child obesity (see childhood obesity causes) by following mechanisms:

Displacement of physical activity and exercise (see childhood obesity & exercise). Media lessen the time the child expend in energetic activities, such as running and playing. In other words, it's not what the child is doing but rather what he/she is not doing while watching TV.

media and childhood obesityIncreased calorie consumption while watching or caused by the effects of advertising, The foods (see childhood obesity fast food).most heavily advertised on media are high in calories: candy bars, sugared cereals, etc. which influence children to make unhealthy food choices.

Decreased resting metabolic rates as media needs no energy

Media characters are typically munching snacks not sitting down for well-balanced diets (see childhood obesity & diet).

The association between media and obesity in children has been inspected in several studies. Many experimental studies of decreasing television viewing lately have been completed. Most of those studies have not tested directly the effects of reducing television viewing behaviors alone, but their results support the suggestion that reducing television viewing may help to decrease the risk for child obesity or help promote weight loss in obese children. Watching television frequently is a cause of increased body fatness and that reducing media time is a promising strategy for preventing childhood obesity.

According to the National Institutes of Health, Kids who watch the most hours of television have the greater risk of childhood obesity.

television childhood obesityThe popularity of media, computers, and video games transform into an ever more sedentary (inactive) lifestyle for many children in America.

Children in America expend an estimate of over three hrs per day watching television. Television Not only encourages physical inactivity (see childhood obesity & physical activity) but, it also encourages snacking.

In addition, only a small minority of children (1 in 5) regularly participate in after-school (see childhood obesity in schools) sports or extra-curricular physical activity.

childhood obesity preventionTips for parents

What can you do as a parent or guardian or caregiver to help preventing childhood obesity? We have some ideas in our Childhood Obesity Prevention section.

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