Health Don’t blame TV for childhood obesity

Don’t blame TV for childhood obesity

What makes children obese? Not watching TV, according to University of Southern Queensland Research Program Director in Physical Activity and Health, Professor Stuart Biddle.

A new study led by Professor Biddle suggests there is little association between sedentary behaviour, such as sitting in front of the television, and obesity in young people.

He said it was a complex area, with many factors affecting the results.

“Whether too much sitting is a factor in obesity might also depend on how much physical activity the young people get, what they eat and how much sleep they have,” he said.

“For example, if a 13-year old is highly active through cycling to school and playing sport, watching television in the evening may not be much of a problem for their weight.”

Professor Biddle said although there are many benefits to sitting less and breaking up long bouts of sitting, weight loss does not seem to be one.

Researchers examined 29 published reviews of literature which included more than 450 separate research papers dating back to the 1980s.

They included studies where wearable technology was used to assess sitting time across the day and others that tried to change how much young people sat in front of television.

“While small associations were sometimes found between television viewing and fatness, these were so small as to question their practical value.”

Read more about the USQ study here. Story credit: USQ newsroom.

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