The link between television viewing and obesity in children and adults, in countries around the world has been studied for a long time now.
There’s good evidence that cutting back on television time can help with weight control.
TELEVISION VIEWING AND CHILDHOOD OBESITY.
It has been consistently found that the more TV children watch, the more likely they are to gain excess weight.
Children who have a television set in their bedrooms are also more likely to gain excess weight than children who don’t.
TELEVISION VIEWING AND ADULT OBESITY.
The more television people watch, the more likely are to gain weight or become overweight or obese. Too much television watching also increase the risk of weight-related chronic disease.
HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?
- Displacing time for physical activity.
- Promoting poor diets.
- Giving more opportunities for unhealthy snacking (during television viewing).
- Interfering with sleep.
TV viewing is associated with
- Greater calorie intake or poorer diet quality and there’s increasing evidence that food and beverage marketing on television may be responsible for the television – obesity link.
More and more television content is moving from the television screen to computer and smartphone screens.
Generation ‘M’ as it has been dubbed, spend more and more time immersed in these new media forms.
Food and beverage companies are becoming more sophisticated and targeted in their use digital marketing and social media across these platforms.
TOTAL TIME SITTING.
There’s evidence that spending too much time sitting – at work or at home –
- Increase the risk of becoming obese and
- May also increase the risk of chronic disease and early death.
People who spend a lot of time sitting may spend less time being active, but physical activity levels don’t seem to explain the sitting – health risk relationship.
LIMIT “SIT TIME,” INCREASE “FIT TIME” TO PREVENT OBESITY- HOW?
There is little doubt that time spent watching TV is an important risk factor for obesity and a modifiable risk factor.
There are ways to curb exposure to TV and media.
- Remove Any/All Screen From Bedrooms – Kids who have TVs in their rooms watch one-and-a-half more hours of TV than kids don’t.
- No Electronics At The Dinner Table.
- A Family Screen Time Rule – Families should discuss ways of limiting screen time.
- Post-Supper Physical Activity – Take a walk as a family, ride a bike or engage in an outdoor game.
- Move About While Watching Television – See who can do the most push-ups or jumping jacks during commercials.
Staying active help with weight control, as does limiting sedentary activities recreational computer time, driving, and the like.
WHAT IS A GOOD STRATEGY
Replace “Sit Time With “Fit Time”.
Walking or biking for part or all of a workday commute, instead of driving.
Playing in the park instead of playing video games.