CMCH authors published an article in the April 8 online edition of Pediatrics. Led by David Bickham, PhD, and CMCH Director Michael Rich, MD, MPH, our researchers looked at screen media usage in 13-, 14-, and 15-year-olds by having the teens keep 24-hour time-use diaries and report at random moments throughout their day what activities were capturing their primary, secondary, and tertiary attention.
The study found that paying primary attention to TV was associated with a higher Body Mass Index, but this relationship was not the same for playing video games or using computers.
What does this research suggest? First, not all media are the same. It is important not to lump all screen-based activities together and assume they all have the same health outcomes. The results of this study should also encourage researchers and parents to think about not just how long young people are watching TV but how they use it. The researchers explain their results using our current understanding of how TV might impact obesity. Attention to food advertising or mindless eating during TV might account for these findings.
The article is forthcoming in the May print edition of Pediatrics. You can take a look at the article abstract online by clicking here. Or take a look at some of the press we've received here. You'll see the article listed in our Database of Research soon!