Children with bedroom TVs at higher risk of being obese
A University College London (UCL)-led study of over 12,000 young children in the United Kingdom (U.K.) has revealed that 11-year-olds who had Televisions (TVs) in their bedroom at age seven had a significantly higher body mass (BMI) and fat mass (FMI) and were more likely to be overweight compared to children who did not have a bedroom TV.
Girls who had a TV in their bedroom at age seven were at an approximately 30 per cent higher risk of being overweight at age 11 compared to children who did not have a TV in their bedroom, and for boys the risk was increased by about 20 per cent.
The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, took a range of other obesity-linked factors into consideration, such as household income, mothers’ education, breastfeeding duration, physical activity and irregular bedtimes. Mothers’ BMI was also taken into account to represent the overall food environment in the household as well as potential genetic influences.
In addition, children’s BMI at age three was included to minimise the possibility of reverse causation – the possibility that being overweight in the first place leads to spending more time in front of a screen.