Today I heard about 2 recently published studies on media and overweight. There are a number of theories on why media and obesity seem to be related: that kids now use media instead of playing outside; that kids eat while they’re using media; and that advertisers market unhealthy food to kids.
One of the new studies examines the theory that sedentary media use is replacing physical activity. Researchers asked the parents of over 3,000 children about how much time the kids spent watching TV, playing video games, and engaging in physical activity. They found that playing video games was significantly associated with obesity, but that watching TV was not significantly associated.
The second study examines the theory about food advertising. After looking at advertisements during 31 hours of children’s television, researchers found that the ads for many unhealthy foods depicted children being active and athletic. Researchers conclude that this may promote overeating by kids who wrongly associate the food with activity and fun.
You can see other studies on media and overweight in the CMCH Database of Research.