A new study indicates children who have a TV in their bedroom are more than twice as likely to be overweight.
The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that kids ages 5 to 18 who had a TV in their rooms were also three times as likely to be at risk for heart disease and diabetes as those who don’t. Additionally, children who watched TV more than five hours a day were at twice the risk for fat around their internal organs, a dangerous precursor for disease.
NBC News reports that the findings held even after the researchers took into account other factors that affect weight, including age, gender, physical activity level and diet.
Approximately 70 percent of American children have a television in their bedrooms and that one third are overweight or obese, according to the survey. Not surprisingly, the report showed that children who had a TV in their room clocked up more screen time than other kids, but the risks went beyond TV watching in general.
The study suggests that TV-watching in the bedroom "may create additional disruptions to healthy habits, above and beyond regular TV viewing."
"For instance, having a bedroom TV is related to lower amounts of sleep and lower prevalence of regular family meals, independent of total TV viewing time. Both short sleep duration and lack of regular family meals have been related to weight gain and obesity."
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children's TV time be limited to two hours a day or less.