Excess TV watching engenders bad eating habits among kids

January 30th, 2009 - 4:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 30 (IANS) High-school kids glued to TV sets most of the time are likely to develop bad eating habits five years later, according to a study. Daheia Barr-Anderson worked with University of Minnesota researchers to investigate the link between TV and diet. They based their findings on viewing patterns of 2,000 high and middle-school children.

“This is the first study to examine the association between television viewing and diet over the transition from adolescence into young adulthood. We’ve shown that TV viewing during adolescence predicts poorer dietary intake patterns five years later,” she said.

The authors found that those high-school kids who watched more than five hours of TV daily had a lower intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and calcium-rich foods. They gorged on snacks, fried foods, fast food, sugar-sweetened beverages, and trans fats five years later, said a Minnesota release.

“These less than healthy foodstuffs are commonly advertised on television while healthy foods rarely receive the same publicity. Although young people may be aware that many foods advertised on television are not healthy, they… do not fully realise the consequences,” she said.

The results were published in BioMed Central’s open access International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity.

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