Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Link between television and weight

In the current issue (.pdf) of the magazine Tufts Nutrition, Jacqueline Mitchell describes recent research on television viewing and weight status.
Americans spend an average of more than 150 hours a month in front of the television — that’s six days—and never mind other sedentary hours we spend with computers or mobile devices. As our screen time has exploded, so has the national waistline. Two-thirds of adults are overweight, and childhood obesity has more than doubled in the last 20 years.

One reason obesity may be on the rise is that people who watch a lot of television may eat more, particularly pizza, soda and other fast foods, according to a recent Tufts study that evaluated 30 years of research linking TV viewing with weight gain. The paper, written by four students and their adviser, Robin Kanarek, Ph.D., interim dean of the Friedman School, was published online in the June 4 edition of Physiology and Behavior....  The research by Kanarek and the students—Rebecca Boulos, N13; Emily Vikre, N08, N13; Sophie Oppenheimer, N11, MPH11; and Hannah Chang, A10—also indicated that television can shape societal views about overweight and obese people.

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