Excess Screen Time is Linked to Childhood Obesity

The more screen time kids have, the more likely they are to be overweight. This is true for preschoolers as well as older children.   A recent study showed that 31 percent of preschoolers  exceeded the American Academy of Pediatric (AAP) guidelines of a maximum of two hours of screen time per day. Those children who surpassed the AAP recommendations on TV/video viewing were more likely to be overweight.

A combination of factors creates the correlation between screen time and obesity.  First, we burn very few calories watching TV or playing computer games and these sedentary behaviors cut into activity time.  Also we tend to eat mindlessly when our minds are drawn into what's on the screen. It's not uncommon to eat a whole bag of chips without even realizing it.  In addition, food advertising works. The more we see it, the more we buy and eat it.  Billions of  marketing dollars are spent advertising high calorie foods to children through television commercials. Kids have a big influence on family's food purchase.  Finally, the more TV people watch, the less they sleep. Lack of sleep is linked to obesity.

Limiting children's screen time is one of the most effective things parents can do to help their children have a healthy weight.It is never too late to start! Check out 6 Things Parents Can Do to Reduce Screen Time, Your Family Guidlines and Cutting Back on Screen Time and Surviving.