TV exposure associated with increased sweetened beverage consumption in children irrespective of parental norms.

TV viewing is associated with increased BMI and childhood obesity. Time spent in front of TV or computer screens is also associated with dietary habits such as higher sugar intake or fast food consumption. This relationship, however, could be mediated by social norms in the family.

In a study recently published in the International Journal of Public Health, authors set to explore whether the association between children’s screen habits and consumption of sweetened beverages were independent of parental norms. To do so, investigators used Swedish data from the IDEFICS study from a total of 1733 questionnaires. These questionnaires were completed by parents and concerned the dietary and lifestyle habits of their 2-9 year old children.

The study found that associations between screen habits and sweetened beverage consumption were independent of parental norms regarding sweetened beverages. Moreover, a longitudinal analysis revealed that sweetened beverage consumption at 2-year follow-up was predicted by exposure to commercial TV at baseline. In addition, the likelihood of consuming sweetened beverages at least 1–3 times per week increased for each hour/day watching television  and for being exposed to commercials.

The authors conclude that it is possible to influence children’s dietary habits through their TV habits.



This study was authored by Steingerdur Olafsdottir , Gabriele Eiben , Hillevi Prell , Sabrina Hense , Lauren Lissner , Staffan Marild , Lucia Reisch , Christina Berg






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