At the Childrenıs Television Conference in 1996, President
Bill Clinton underscored Americaıs obsession with television
when he noted that "a typical child watches 25,000 hours
of television before his or her 18th birthday. Preschoolers
watch 28 hours of television a week." If you tend to
shrug off this fascination with the tube as harmless, consider
a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association
that examined the potential connection between TV viewing
Nearly 200 third and fourth-grade students from two public
elementary schools participated in the study, in which children
from one school received an 18-lesson, six-month classroom
curriculum to reduce television, videotape and video game
use. The intervention was based solely upon teaching the children
to budget their entertainment time and did not include other
lifestyle modifications such as exercise. The second school
received no curriculum to modify TV viewing and was compared
with the initial group after six months.
from the first school showed significant decreases in body-mass
index, triceps skinfold thickness, waist circumference and
waist-to-hip ratio following the six-month educational program,
especially compared to the second school that received no
intervention to decrease TV viewing. Children from the first
school also reported significant decreases in overall television
viewing and meals eaten in front of the television.
These findings add to considerable evidence suggesting that
television can influence our children, and the news isnıt
good. As parents, letıs take the opportunity to do something
about it. Itıs time to stop watching our children get fat.
Robinson TN. Reducing childrenıs television viewing to prevent
obesity. Journal of the American Medical Association,
Oct. 27, 1999: Vol. 282, No. 16, pp1561-67.