Forty-two percent of Americans say they eat dinner in front of the TV every day.

- Reader's Digest, September 2006

Less TV = Less Obesity

"There's more evidence to suggest the USA's epidemic of childhood obesity is stabilizing, and the reasons may be that kids are eating better and watching less TV." - USA Today (Sept 2013)

"Researchers found when adults who normally watched around five hours of television daily cut their viewing time in half for just three weeks, they cut a total of 120 calories per day. That would result in about 13 pounds lost in a year, without making any other changes!" - (March 2011)  and Science Daily (Dec 2009)  and  MedPage Today (Dec 2009)   and  The New York Times (Dec 2009)

"Want to protect your preschooler from obesity? Eat dinner as a family six or seven times a week, limit the time the child watches TV to less than two hours a day, and make sure he or she gets more than 10.5 hours of sleep a night. Those three simple household routines are associated with analmost 40% reduction in the risk of childhood obesity, according to Sarah Anderson, PhD, of Ohio State University College of Public Health in Columbus, and Robert Whitaker, MD, of Temple University in Philadelphia." - MedPage Today (Feb 2010)  and (Feb 2010)

"Friendship May Help Stem Rise of Obesity in Children, Study Finds... "Consider a person who usually comes home alone after school and eats out of boredom," says Sarah-Jeanne Salvy, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics in the University at Buffalo's Division of Behavioral Medicine and first author on the study. "But on this day, she has a play date with a friend and socializes instead of eating. In this case, socializing is acting as a substitute for eating. Identifying substitutes provides a potential way to reduce behavior." - Science Daily (Jan 2010)

"Kids consistently altered their activity level by 10% or more to match their friends" - Med Page Today (May 2012)

"Reducing TV Time Helps Adults Burn More Calories, Study Finds" - Science Daily (Dec 2009)  and  The New York Times (Dec 2009)

"Effects of Television Viewing Reduction on Energy Intake and Expenditure in Overweight and Obese Adults" - Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (Dec 2009)  and  Jama Network (Dec 2009)

"Increasing Physical Activity And Limiting Television May Lead To Reduction In Type 2 Diabetes" - Science Daily (Dec 2008)

"TV and Computer Limits Make Kids Slimmer" - WSJ Health Blog (March 2008)

"Reducing television viewing and computer use may have an important role in preventing obesity and in lowering BMI in young children, and these changes may be related more to changes in energy intake than to changes in physical activity." - Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (March 2008)

"Children whose parents used monitoring equipment to halve screen time found they were thinner, a report in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine shows." - Telegraph (Dec 2007)

"Less Television, More Gathering Around Dinner Table Prevents Kids From Becoming Overweight" - Science Daily (Feb 2007)

"Switch(TM) -- active lifestyles from MediaWise(R) is the first childhood obesity prevention project to incorporate the amount of screen time component as a factor for the overall health of children. The eight-month pilot program was designed to enhance the lifestyle and fitness of more than 600 children in three elementary schools in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and two elementary schools in Lakeville, Minnesota. "This study provides the most concrete evidence to date that excessive amounts of screen time vastly increase the risk of childhood obesity," said Dr. David Walsh, president and founder of the National Institute on Media and the Family. "Every parent needs to understand the link and take significant steps in turning off their child's television and computer."" - Medical News Today (May 2007)

"After eight weeks, the TV viewing restriction was removed, and the time the families spent watching TV was again recorded for four days and compared with their original habits. The families had originally watched an average of 7.45 hours per day, but at follow up, this was reduced to an average of 3.73 hours a day. All the families said they would recommend using the ‘TV Allowance’ devices." - BP Research (Nov 2006)  also see TV Allowance 

Planet Health & YMCA - Harvard School of Public Health (Spring 2006)

"Latent growth modelling indicated that a decrease in time spent watching television was associated with an increase in frequency of leisure-time physical activity. That relationship was strong in magnitude and independent of sex, socioeconomic status, smoking, and the value participants placed on health, appearance, and achievement. Our results encourage the design of interventions that reduce television watching as a possible means of increasing adolescent physical activity."  -  PubMed (Feb 2006)

"A study of the habits of members of the National Weight Control Registry — a group of about 5,000 people who have lost an average of 73 pounds and kept off at least 30 of them for more than six years — found that most watch fewer than 10 hours of TV a week." - USAToday (Oct 2005)

"Now, a new study finds that public health initiatives can successfully deliver an anti-obesity message that convinces at least some low-income, preschool children to watch less TV." - Healing Well (June 2005)

"The results of the study, published in Health Psychology in 1995, showed that the children who were reinforced for being less sedentary-e.g., less television and less computer games-had a bigger weight loss than the children who were reinforced for increasing their physical activity." - UB Reporter (Dec 2000)

"A school-based intervention aimed at reducing television and video game use reduced adiposity in children in grades 3 and4" - The Western Journal of Medicine (July 2000)

"Decreasing Sedentary Behaviors in Treating Pediatric Obesity" - Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (March 2000)

"For kids, reducing TV viewing may be a key to preventing obesity" - Stanford Report (May 1999)

"Effects of decreasing sedentary behavior and increasing activity on weight change in obese children." - APA PsychNet (March 1995)

"Several trials designed to reduce children’s TV use have found improvements in body mass index (BMI), body fat, and other obesity-related measures. (15-18) Based on this evidence, the U.S. Task Force on Community Preventive Services recommends that communities roll out behavior-change programs aimed at curbing screen time, since there’s “sufficient evidence” that such programs do help reduce screen time and improve weight. (19)" - Harvard

"Students in one of the two elementary schools received 18 lessons over the course of a six month curriculum to reduce television, videotape and videogame use. The study showed that the students receiving the additional instruction experienced a decrease in their body mass index. Using this information, the researchers were able to conclude that reducing television, videotape and videogame use may be a promising approach to prevent childhood obesity." - Stanford Student Media Awareness to Reduce Television (SMART) curriculum is being used in California and Michigan. SMART in San Francisco,  SMART in Canada

Family-Based Obesity-Prevention Programs - Princeton University and The Brookings Institution

California Obesity Prevention Initiative - Free Pdf Booklet

Finnland successful reduced their obesity rate from 44% to 11% - The Times (April 2004)

Overweight and Obesity - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"Tips to Reduce Screen Time" - U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

TV Slows Your Metabolism

"Effects of television on metabolic rate: potential implications for childhood obesity" - Pediatrics Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (Feb 1993)  and  The New York Times (April 1992)

TV More Sedentary Than Reading, Playing Video Games & Computer Use

"The study found that lack of physical activity is more strongly linked with TV watching than with other types of sedentary activities like computer use, video game playing and reading. It also revealed that children who watch TV for more than six hours a week are much more likely to be physically inactive." - University of Guelph (Dec 2006)

TV Junk Food Advertising and Marketing

"One study had kids watching TV with a bowl of goldfish crackers to munch on while they were watching. The kids that watched programs that showed food commercials ate 45 percent more goldfish crackers compared to kids watching the same program with non-food commercials." -  Huffington Post (May 2014)  and  NCBI (July 2009)

"Jakab also said recent data suggest children become obese not just because they watch TV instead of being active but also because of exposure to advertising and other marketing tactics." - Huffington Post (June 2013)

"Bickham says three theories have been floated for the link between screen time and obesity: food advertising, unconscious eating and displacement—that is, the idea that the media use replaces physical activity. His team’s findings lent more support to the first two variables and less to the third. They found video games and computer use had no impact on BMI (body mass index). Television did, but only if it was the main event. Background TV, for example, didn’t matter." - Scientific American (April 2013)  and  Salon (April 2013)

"Yet the idea later proclaimed by the Jesuits is very old – give us a child till he’s seven and we’ll have him for life. It works. Many years ago a young son of my ancestors was kidnapped during a Russian pogrom. His father and brother spent years searching - everywhere. They eventually found him – living as a teenage seminarian in Constantinople. He knew nothing of his family. He had no wish to know. He just wanted to become a Russian Orthodox priest. It’s not only religious organizations that know the power of early training and indoctrination. So do food companies." - Psychology Today (March 2013) 

"7 Highly Disturbing Trends in Junk Food Advertising to Children" - Alternet (Nov 2012)

"Obese children may be more susceptible to food advertising than healthy-weight children, a new study finds, suggesting one reason the nation's childhood obesity rate might continue to climb." - Huffington Post (Nov 2012)

"A generation of young people is growing up with the logos of fast-food companies "branded" on their brains. Scientists say scans of children show the pleasure and appetite centres of their brains light up when they are shown advertising images such as the McDonald's logo." - The Independent (Sept 2012) 

"Fast food restaurants are leading a new campaign for a "fourth meal"" - Salon (June 2012)

"Familiarity with television fast-food ads linked to obesity" - PsyPost (May 2012)  and  MedPage Today (April 2012)

"How services like Netflix (in moderation) could help parents break the junk food propaganda stranglehold" - Natural News (March 2012)

"Food items that feature kid-friendly characters like Dora the Explorer or the Disney princesses on their labeling may drive children to nag for products that aren't necessarily good for them, researchers said. A small survey of mothers found that a child's familiarity with commercial TV characters was associated with several types of nagging in the supermarket.." - MedPage Today (August 2011)

"Although childrens' total exposure to television pitches for foods high in fat, sugar, and/or salt has declined substantially in recent years, such ads still make up the overwhelming majority of advertising aimed at kids, researchers said." - MedPage Today (August 2011)

"The results of the study suggest that children exposed to unhealthy food ads (as opposed to toy ads) are far more likely to show unhealthy eating preferences. These effects were especially pronounced among study subjects who typically watched more than 21 hours of TV per week." - Natural News (July 2011)

"TV Food Advertising Increases Children's Preference for Unhealthy Foods, Study Finds" - Science Daily (June 2011)

"Fast Food and Sweets Advertised When Children Watch Television" - Science Daily (Dec 2011)

"Today, preschoolers see 21% more fast food ads on TV than they saw in 2003, and somewhat older children see 34% more." - Yale (Nov 2010)

"The sneaky and unconscious part is that people were not aware that the ads had influenced them. When the adults were asked why they were eating, they typically reported they were just hungry. As with Bargh's other research, people were not aware that their behaviors had been primed by their recent experiences. People were eating without awareness that the ads were causing them to eat.  One possible mechanism is that the pleasure associated with eating presented in the ads primed eating behaviors in general. Thus even if people do not remember which products were advertised, the ads will affect their behavior. In my previous blog, I argued that beer ads are often a failure because people can't remember which brand of beer was advertised (or at least I can't, see Beer, Humor, and Memory). But what if that isn't the goal? What if the goal is sneakier? What if the goal is simply more beer consumption? In that case, the ad may be effective. People watching those ads may drink more. Junk food and beer ads may increase consumption. The particular product then gets its regular share of that additional consumption. The ad may be effective even when not remembered." - Psychology Today Blog (Aug 2010)

"Underage, Overweight: The Federal Government Needs to Halt the Marketing of Unhealthy Foods to Kids"  -  Scientific American (May 2010)

"Unintended consequences? Food ads automatically prime eating in children and adults" - Media and Public (Feb 2010)

"Childhood Obesity: It's Not the Amount of TV, It's the Number of Junk Food Commercials" - Science Daily (Feb 2010)

"Children consumed 45% more when exposed to food advertising. Adults consumed more of both healthy and unhealthy snack foods following exposure to snack food advertising compared to the other conditions. In both experiments, food advertising increased consumption of products not in the presented advertisements, and these effects were not related to reported hunger or other conscious influences." - NCBI (July 2009)

"TV Bombards Children With Commercials For High-Fat And High-Sugar Foods" - Science Daily (Nov 2009)

"Children’s television networks show 76 percent more food commercials per hour than other networks – and most of them are for high-fat, high-sugar foods, according to a new study." - Food Navigator (Nov 2009)  and  Live Science (Nov 2009)

"In a new study published this month in the journal Health Psychology, TV food ads were found to significantly increase eating while viewing, in adults as well as children." - Psychology Today Blog (July 2009)  and  Natural News (July 2009)

"California's low-income teenagers have a lot in common: Sugary soda. Fast-food restaurants. Too much television. Not enough exercise. The result: Low-income teenagers are almost three times more likely to be obese than teens from more affluent households, according to new research from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research." - E! Science News (Dec 2008)

"A ban on fast food advertisements in the United States could reduce the number of overweight children by as much as 18 percent, according to a new study being published this month in the Journal of Law and Economics. The study also reports that eliminating the tax deductibility associated with television advertising would result in a reduction of childhood obesity, though in smaller numbers." - Science Daily (Nov 2008)

"University students who watched over four hours or more of TV per day snacked more frequently while watching TV, recognized more TV advertisements and consumed more energy-dense snacks than students who viewed less than one hour of TV per day." - Science Daily (Aug 2008)

It's Official: Big Food Targets Kids - Daily Kos (August 2008)

"Nine out of ten food advertisements shown during Saturday morning children's television programming are for foods of poor nutritional quality, according to researchers at the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the University of Minnesota." - Science Daily (April 2008)

"Spanish-language television is bombarding children with so many fast-food commercials that it may be fueling the rising obesity epidemic among Latino youth, according to research led by pediatricians from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center." - Science Daily (Feb 2008)

"A siege of fast-food commercials on Spanish-language television channels in the United States may be helping drive an obesity epidemic among Latino youth, researchers reported on Tuesday." - Reuters (Feb 2008)

"A survey by Sonya Grier, a marketing professor at American University's Kogod School of Business, found that greater exposure to fast food advertising was linked to beliefs that eating fast food is a regular practice of family, friends and others in their communities. The more parents perceived fast food consumption as a socially normal behavior, the more frequently their children ate fast food." - Phys Org (Jan 2008)  and  UPI (Jan 2008)

"Anything made by McDonald's tastes better, preschoolers said in a study that powerfully demonstrates how advertising can trick the taste buds of young children." - The Seattle Times (Aug 2007)

"Obese and overweight children increase their food intake by more than 100% after watching food advertisements on television; a study by the University of Liverpool psychologists has shown." - Science Daily (April 2007)

"The average American kid sees between 30 and 50 hours of food commercials on TV every year -- 90 percent of them for junk food, and none for fruits and vegetables -- according to an extensive study of children's and teen's viewing habits released Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a Menlo Park nonprofit group." - San Francisco Chronicle (March 2007) - More on this Kaiser   Report - Post Gazette  and  Kaiser Family Foundation (March 2007)

"Study: Commercials For High-Fat Foods Permeate TV For Preschoolers" - CBS News (Oct 2006)  and  Natural News (Oct 2006)

"Food and beverage companies are using television ads to entice children into eating massive amounts of unhealthful food, leading to a sharp increase in childhood obesity and diabetes, a national science advisory panel said yesterday. - WashingtonPost (Dec 2005)

"A study has found that the more television kids watch, the more confused they are about which foods are -- and which aren't -- going to help them grow up strong and healthy." - Science Daily (June 2005)

"Child television viewers are bombarded with health claims in television advertising. Given the plentitude of advertisements on television touting the health benefits of even the most nutritionally bankrupt of foods, child viewers are likely to become confused about which foods are in fact healthy," - Health Day (June 2005)  and  Food Navigator (June 2005)

"That's the conclusion of a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, titled The Role of the Media in Childhood Obesity. The review of more than 40 studies turned up the not-surprising finding that children who spend the most time with the media are the most likely to be overweight. Media" here refers primary to television, says Vicky Rideout, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, but, "advertisers are increasingly seeking other ways to put messages in front of kids." - Baptist Hospital East (Feb 2004)

Reducing Junk-Food Advertising

"WHO Europe said that, while all 53 member states of its European region have signed up to restrictions on the marketing of unhealthy foods to children, most rely on general advertising regulations that do not specifically address the promotion of high-fat, -salt or -sugar products. More comprehensive approaches - via either legislation, self-regulation or co-regulation - have only been adopted in Denmark, France, Norway, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden, it said." - Huffington Post (June 2013)

"In the United Kingdom, Greece, Denmark, and Belgium advertising to children is restricted, and in Quebec, Sweden and Norway advertising to children under the age of 12 is illegal." - Wikipedia

"The province of Quebec in Canada has the lowest childhood obesity rates in the country despite having one of the most sedentary lifestyles. How is that possible? A study by Tirtha Dhar and Kathy Baylis found that Quebec’s 32 year ban on advertising to children led to an estimated: - US$88 million annual reduction in expenditures on fast food - 13.4 billion to 18.4 billion fewer fast food calories being consumed per year. The study also found that patterns established in childhood carried into adulthood, with French speaking young adults in Quebec being 38% less likely to purchase fast food than French speaking young adults in Ontario (where there is no advertising ban)."  -  Care2 (June 2012)  and  Journal of Marketing Research (2011)

"Tighter Regulations Recommended On Food Advertisements During Children's TV Viewing Times" - Science Daily (Oct 2010)

"A ban on fast food advertisements in the United States could reduce the number of overweight children by as much as 18 percent, according to a new study being published this month in the Journal of Law and Economics." - Science Daily (Nov 2008)

"Tony the Tiger is under attack. So are the Rice Krispies elves, the Nesquik rabbit, and some mysterious entity called the Sugar Puffs Honey Monster (video). Since July of last year, these mascots—and others peddling food high in fat, salt, or sugar—are slowly disappearing from British television. The purge represents the U.K.'s most recent strategy to fight childhood obesity. On January 1, the British government put limits on junk-food advertising during shows aimed at children under the age of 16, and by 2009, they will become stricter. Junk-cereal cartoons will soon become an NC-17 novelty." - Discover (Jan 2008)

"Nestle and Dannon, two of the nation's leading food companies, have declined to join a widespread industry move to limit advertising of unhealthy foods to children." - Food Navigator (Oct 2007)

"Advertising And Childhood Obesity: Food Companies Changing Little, Study Finds" - Science Daily (May 2007)

"Report: TV ads contribute to child obesity. Scientists urge marketers to stop targeting junk food commercials to kids" - MSNBC (Dec 2005)

"Researchers Say Prime Time for Kids Has Heavy Advertising for High-Sugar Foods" - WebMD (Aug 2005)

"Further, the Article examines the ways in which the food industry has exercised powerful influence, often in unseen ways, over consumer behavior in the food market, even as the industry has evaded responsibility for the ensuing obesity epidemic by promoting to regulators, as well as to consumers themselves, the view that consumer behavior in the food market reflects the preference driven choices of individual consumers, which the industry claims merely to satisfy." - Social Science Research Network (2004)

Eating in Front of the TV

"University students who watched over four hours or more of TV per day snacked more frequently while watching TV, recognized more TV advertisements and consumed more energy-dense snacks than students who viewed less than one hour of TV per day." - Science Daily (Aug 2008)

"School of Public Health Project EAT researchers found that children in families who watched TV while eating meals together had a lower-quality diet than the children of families who ate together, but turned the TV off." - Science Daily (Oct 2007)

"The Power of Family Meals" -

"In contrast, among families of kids whose asthma wasn't well controlled, more time was spent on action, such as texting or talking on the phone, watching TV, or popping up and down from the table. And instead of mostly positive communication, these families tended to make more critical or disapproving remarks."  -  Psychology Today (July 2011)

"Watching television disrupts children's' normal response to food -- they will eat more while they're sitting in front of the tube, whether or not they're really hungry." - Reuters (Feb 2007)

"Kids who watch TV at mealtime eat far fewer fruits and vegetables than children who sit down to a quiet dinner" - CNN (Jan 2001)

"A Tufts University study... found that when families didn't separate eating from other activities, particularly watching TV, kids consumed fewer fruits and vegetables and more junk food and soda." - Psychology Today (2001)

"Positive Effects of Family Dinner Are Undone by Television Viewing" - Science Direct (March 2007)

"Less Television, More Gathering Around Dinner Table Prevents Kids From Becoming Overweight" - Science Daily (Jan 2008)

"As children become teenagers, it may be more challenging to regularly include them in family meals, but doing so is key to heading off such problems as eating disorders, obesity, and inadequate nutrition in adolescence..."  -  Science Daily (July 2011)

"Thirty-two non-dieting women of unexceptional weight spent 20 minutes in the morning consuming as much snack food as they could, including chocolate balls, crisps and coke/orange squash. Half of them did this while watching Friends or Seinfeld, the others while sitting quietly. There was no difference in the amount of snack food the two groups consumed. Approximately an hour later, the women sat down to eat a lunch of sandwiches, biscuits, crackers and dip. The key finding is that the women who'd earlier snacked while watching TV ate significantly more of this later meal, than did the women who'd earlier snacked without TV. What's more, the TV group were also less accurate at recalling how much they snacked on in the morning. The implication seems to be that watching TV while snacking affects our memory for how much we've snacked on, thereby leading us to eat more later on." - BP Researchl (Jan 2011)

TV & Obesity

"The Small Screen Looms Large in the Obesity Epidemic" - Harvard School of Public Health

"Is an overlooked source of childhood obesity staring us in the face?"  -  Psychology Today (Dec 2013) 

"Bickham says three theories have been floated for the link between screen time and obesity: food advertising, unconscious eating and displacement—that is, the idea that the media use replaces physical activity. His team’s findings lent more support to the first two variables and less to the third. They found video games and computer use had no impact on BMI (body mass index). Television did, but only if it was the main event. Background TV, for example, didn’t matter. “We’re saying the level of attention may make a difference,” Bickham says. “You have to pay attention to advertising for it to have the impact, and [food] advertising is much less common in computers and video games. In terms of unconscious eating, when you’re watching TV, your hands are free and you’re stimulating your senses with the TV, so concurrent eating is more likely to happen.”"  -  Salon (April 2013)  and  Scientific American (April 2013)

"Sitting in front of a screen can increase the risk of obesity, but TV seems to have a larger effect on weight than computers or video games."  -  Health Land (April 2013)  and  MedPage Today (April 2013)  and  Pediatrics (April 2013)

"Bedroom TV viewing increases risk of obesity in children: More than 2 hours of TV a day adds significantly to children's waist size"  -  Science Daily (Dec 2012)  and  Elsevier (Dec 2012) 

"But even among people who exercised more than an hour a day, those watching more than an hour of TV per day had significantly higher BMIs than those who did not. In fact, for respondents who watched more than an hour of TV, whether or not they exercised no longer predicted BMI." - Seed Magazine (Oct 2011)

"Too much time parked in front of the television or computer screen is driving the epidemic of childhood obesity in the U.S., according to a new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics."  -  MedPage Today (June 2011)

"Does Watching TV Make You Fat?"  -  Imperfect Woman (Nov 2010) 

"Too much television, video games and Internet can increase body fat in teens. A five-year study from the University of Montreal and the Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Center, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, has found teenagers have four different patterns of screen use: increasers, decreasers, consistently high and consistently low users." - Science Daily (Sept 2010)

""Having a games console or television in the bedroom triples the risk of exceeding the health recommendations to not spend more than two hours per day watching television. However, having a computer in the bedroom reduces the risk of excessive television watching", the researcher from Aragon explains."  -  eScience News (Sept 2010)

"While the obesity rate declined by 32% for children in Oregon from 2003 to 2007, it increased by more than 40% in Arizona and Colorado... They suggested several policy initiatives that might reduce the prevalence of obesity and overweight: Providing increased opportunities for physical activity by improving the existing trail/path system, sidewalks, and creating bike trails, playgrounds, and recreational facilities. Increasing access to healthy foods in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods by encouraging the development of grocery stores and farmers' markets. Launching educational or media campaigns that encourage parents to limit adolescents' television viewing and other recreation screen time."  -  MedPage Today (May 2010)

"Children whose screen time was more than two hours a day were also more likely to be obese (AOR 3.5, 95%CI 1.13 to 8.26; p=0.03) than those who spent less than one hour a day watching a screen." - PubMed (April 2010)

"US preschool-aged children exposed to the 3 household routines of regularly eating the evening meal as a family, obtaining adequate nighttime sleep, and having limited screen-viewing time had an ~40% lower prevalence of obesity than those exposed to none of these routines."  -  Pediatrics (Feb 2010)

"High-school kids who watch too much TV are likely to have bad eating habits five years in the future. A new study followed almost 2000 high- and middle-school children and found that TV viewing times predict a poor diet in the future." - Science Daily (Feb 2009)  and  MedPage Today (Jan 2009)  and   Natural News (Feb 2009)

"Children consume more calories in given meal if they are watching television while they eat, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Toronto and funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research."  - Natural News (Jan 2009)

"Children who watch more than two hours of television a day are putting their health at risk, medical experts have warned." - Telegraph (Jan 2009)

"High-school kids who watch too much TV are likely to have bad eating habits five years in the future." - Science Daily (Jan 2009)

"California's low-income teenagers have a lot in common: Sugary soda. Fast-food restaurants. Too much television. Not enough exercise. The result: Low-income teenagers are almost three times more likely to be obese than teens from more affluent households, according to new research from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research."  -  eScience News (Dec 2008)

"University students who watched over four hours or more of TV per day snacked more frequently while watching TV, recognized more TV advertisements and consumed more energy-dense snacks than students who viewed less than one hour of TV per day. Specifically, male students and medium-to-high television viewers had higher odds of being overweight or obese."  - Science Daily (Aug 2008)

"The researchers found that watching more television was associated with greater waist circumference. Women who watched 3 or more hours of TV a day had an 89 per cent increased risk of severe abdominal obesity compared to those watching 1 hour of TV a day or less. Men watching 3 or more hours of TV a day were more than twice as likely to have moderate abdominal obesity compared to those watching 1 hour of TV a day or less."  - Natural News (July 2008)

"Adults who watch more than 21 hours of TV a week were 80 per cent more likely to be obese than people who watched five hours or less television." - CTV News (June 2008)

"Less Sleep, More TV Leads To Overweight Infants And Toddlers" - Science Daily (April 2008)

"For every one-hour increase in TV viewing per day, we found higher intakes of sugar-sweetened beverages including juice (one extra serving per week) and total calories (46.3 more kcal/day)," said Sonia Miller, B.A., lead author of the study and a student at the Harvard Medical School. " - Science Daily (March 2007)

"Kids gain more weight when school's out" - MSNBC (Feb 2007)

"Television watching increases motivated responding for food and energy intake in children" - The American Journal of Clinical Nutrician (Feb 2007)

"Watching television, eating family meals and the safety of the neighborhood all play a role in children's weight, according to researchers at the University of Missouri." - ScienceDaily (Jan 2007)

"...reducing TV viewing by one hour is associated with 160 fewer calories consumed per day." - Harvard School of Public Health (Dec 2006)

"Statistics Canada found a direct correlation between the amount of time youth spent watching TV and playing video games, and their likelihood of being overweight or obese." - Health Canada (Oct 2006)

"Excess Television May Lead To Extra Weight For Preschoolers" - RxPG News (Aug 2006)

"Using pedometers, researchers find that more TV means fewer daily steps." - Eurekalert (July 2006)  and  ScienceDaily (July 2006)

"FOR the first time, scientists have put an exact figure on the effect of TV on obesity: watching for just an hour a day can increase a child's dietary intake by 167 calories and add more than 6.35 kilograms to their weight in a year." - The Sidney Morning Herald (April 2006)  and  Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (April 2006)

"Preschoolers who sit in front of a television set for more than 2 hours a day are significantly more likely to be overweight than kids who aren't parked there as long, according to the first major survey of television and children from various socioeconomic backgrounds. The study indicates that parents should reduce their toddlers' viewing time, say the researchers." - Science Now (April 2006)

"How Does Increased Television Watching 'Weigh Into' Childhood Obesity?" - ScienceDaily (Oct 2005)

"How much TV children watch accurately predicts whether they will go on to become overweight, a study suggests." - BBC (Sept 2005)  and  The Guardian (Sept 2005)  and  Personal MD

"Three-year-old children who watch more than eight hours of TV a week are at a higher risk of obesity, a study says." - BBC (May 2005)

"Obesity was independently associated with the time spent playing electronic games and the time spent watching television and was inversely associated with physical activity." - Science Daily (July 2004)

The Role of Media is Childhood Obesity - Overview of the Research - Kaiser Family Foundation (Feb 2004)

"In a landmark study that compared watching TV to reading, sitting at a desk, and driving, Hu found that TV watching is far more likely to lead to obesity and diabetes than any of the other sedentary behaviors." - Harvard Magazine (2004)

"More TV Time for Teens Means Fewer Fruits, Vegetables" - Health Day (Dec 2003)

"The study found a significant association between BMI and hours of television watched and daily soft drink consumption." - Personal MD (Sept 2003)

"The prevalence of obesity is lowest among children watching 1 or fewer hours of television a day, and highest among those watching 4 or more hours of television a day."  -  Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent (March 2001)

"Schools need more mandatory physical education classes and parents need to unplug TVs and video games, say researchers who concluded that most young Americans, particularly blacks and females, are far too sedentary." - PE in the News (June 2000)

TV Making Fun of Those Who are Overweight

"Media portrayals of obese people can often reflect these negative stereotypes.  One research study looking at more than one thousand television characters on popular programs showed that only 14 percent of females and 24 percent of males were visibly overweight, less than half their actual percentages in real life.  Overweight characters on these shows were significantly less likely to have friends and romantic partners and were also far more likely to be the target of jokes.  Similar research  showed these same results on children's programming.   Women who are overweight are particularly to be the object of jokes on TV comedies and audience laughter is strongly related to the negative comments that overweight female characters receive."  -   Psychology Today (July 2014)

TV & Diabetes

"A review of published studies in the past 40 years has shown a higher risk of diabetes, heart problems and early death among people who watch lots of television, US researchers said Tuesday."  -  Raw Story (June 2011)  and  MedPage Today (June 2011)

"Increasing Physical Activity And Limiting Television May Lead To Reduction In Type 2 Diabetes" - Science Daily (Dec 2008)

"Diabetic children who spent the most time glued to the TV had a tougher time controlling their blood sugar, according to a Norwegian study that illustrates yet another downside of too much television." - CBS News (May 2007)

Risk for Type 2 Diabetes... "Children who reported watching TV/playing video games 2 or more hours/day were 73% more likely to be at risk." - Journal of School Health (2006)

"Sedentary behaviors, especially TV watching, are associated with a significantly elevated risk of obesity, as well as type 2 diabetes, whereas even light to moderate activity (e.g., walking) is associated with substantially lower risk." - American College of Preventive Medicine

TV & Death

"Anyone who spends six hours a day in front of the box is at risk of dying five years sooner than those who enjoy more active pastimes, it is claimed. Researchers say that watching too much TV is as dangerous as smoking or being overweight, and that the “ubiquitous sedentary behaviour” should be seen as a “public health problem”. " - The Telegraph (Aug 2011)

"Can sitting too much kill you?" - Scientific American (Jan 2011)

"The results  also showed that those who watched TV for four hours a day or more had a 46 percent increased risk of death from any cause and an 80 percent increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, compared with those who watched TV less than two hours a day. This connection was found to be independent of other risk factors for death and cardiovascular disease, including smoking, high cholesterol, poor diet, high blood pressure and a large waistline. " -  Live Science (Jan 2010)  and (Jan 2010)

"I’m still alive and I watch as much if not more TV than anyone I know, so clearly this research is just a bunch of scare tactics being promoted by Australian anti-television groups " (March 2010)

Obesity & Health

"Likening obesity’s risks to those of smoking, a large European study spanning decades has found that young men who were overweight at age 18 were as likely to die by 60 as light smokers, while obese teens, like heavy smokers, were at double the risk of dying early." - The New York Times (March 2009)

"A striking study says one in five 4-year-olds is overweight, lengthening the odds these youngsters will stay obese later in life and encounter a string of health problems." - San Francisco Chronicle (April 2009)

TV Encourages Sitting & Sitting Leads to Weight Gain

"Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?" - The New York Times (May 2011)

"On average, Mr. Vlahos said, the subjects who gained weight sat for two hours a day more than the subjects who didn’t." - Globe & Mail (May 2011)

"Can sitting too much kill you?" - Scientific American (Jan 2011)

TV Linked to Less Sleep, Less Sleep Linked to Obesity

"On insufficient sleep, television, and a better sex life" -  Psychology Today Blog (March 2010)

"More on Lack of Sleep and Weight Gain" -  Psychology Today Blog (Jan 2010)

"Television Watching Before Bedtime Can Lead To Sleep Debt. According to new research presented at Sleep 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies,* television watching may be an important determinant of bedtime, and may contribute to chronic sleep debt." - Science Daily (June 2009)  and  Natural News (Nov 2009)

"Children With TVs Or Computers In Their Room Sleep Less" - Science Daily (Sept 2008)

"Therefore, to clarify the causal relation between TV viewing and sleep–wake patterns, the present study employed an intervention method. Eight university students and eight elderly people participated in this study for 2 weeks, excluding weekends. They were asked to follow their regular routine during the study; however, their TV viewing was limited to 30 min per day in the second week. The results indicate that the effects of the restriction on TV viewing differed between the two age groups. This restriction affected the sleep–wake pattern and motor activity of university students. When TV viewing was limited, they went to bed earlier and slept for a longer time." - Wiley (Jan 2007)

"Too much TV during the day could mean too little sleep for kids, according to a new study."  -  Sceince Central (June 2004)

What Parents Can Do

"8 Things About You That Increase Your Child's Risk for Obesity and Unhealthy Eating Habits... Limiting overall "screen time" in young children is also critical and has been shown to reduce the risk for obesity and chronic conditions. Finally, if you're thinking about letting your little one have a TV in his or her bedroom, think again!"  -  Huffington Post (Feb 2014)

"5 Ways Parents May Be Sabotaging Their Kids’ Health"  -  YMCA of Niagara (April 2011)

What Experts Recommend

"In addition to encouraging physical activity, help children avoid too much sedentary time. Although quiet time for reading and homework is fine, limit the time your children watch television, play video games, or surf the web to no more than 2 hours per day." - Center for Disease Control

"Childhood obesity is a growing concern for pediatricians and caregivers. In response to this problem, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) created guidelines for children regarding physical activity and screen time, which includes both watching television and playing video games..." - Science Daily (April 2008)

To Encourage Walking

Walk Score - shows what is within walking distance of your home

Some Positive Changes

"The report says that short-term outcomes are being achieved; several federal policies have been changed to encourage better nutrition and physical activity in schools, many communities have built sidewalks and bike paths to encourage physical activity, and national awareness of the problem is increasing." - Info Zine (Sept 2006)

Exercise and Will-Power

"Trivedi is in the middle of a two-year randomized clinical trial to study the effects of intensive exercise to treat addiction to cocaine, amphetamines, and other illegal stimulants."  -  Alternet (Jan 2012)

"The results: Participants who had gone for a walk ate half as much chocolate as those who had simply rested."  -  Psychology Today (Jan 2012)

"Now new evidence that suggests a way to make their efforts easier: exercise. In a study involving 233 teens aged 14 to 19 in West Virginia (which has one of the highest smoking rates in the country, at more than 22%), teens who participated in a smoking cessation program combined with exercise were on average up to three times more likely to quit smoking than those who were provided only minimal stop-smoking counseling.  -  Time Healthland (Sept 2011)  and  Psychology Today (Oct 2011)  and  Reuters (Sept 2011)

"Aerobic exercise may protect against binge-like patterns of cocaine use, suggests a new study. Rats allowed access to running wheels self-administered less cocaine than did rats that were not."  -  Science Daily (Nov 2010)

Recommended Websites

Bowling Alone 

Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood

Ellen Currey Wilson – The Big Turnoff 

Herber Valley Unplugged

I’m Missing All Of My Shows 

Instead of TV 

Kill Your Television 

Media by Choice

Media Violence Resource Center

People Unplugged

Plato's Cave

Play Unplugged

Screen Free Project

Screen Free Week

Television vs Children 

The New Citizen

Trash Your TV

Turn Off That TV

TV Smarter - Blog 

TV Stinks 

Unplug Your Kids 

White Dot 

White Dot – Forum 

Recommended Articles

"Television Addiction Is No Mere Metaphor"

University of Otago research - TV and Academic Achievement

University of Otago research - TV and Crime

Unplug Your Brain - by Jerry Mander

Why Turnoff Completely

The Dangers of TV

 TV Promoting Guns

Television and Children (University of Michigan)

Strangers in Our Homes: TV and Our Children's Minds

Excerpted from Endangered Minds - Kids' Brains Must Be Different

How Background TV Undermines Well-Being

Electronic Screen Syndrome and the rise of mental disorders in children

1000 studies over 30 years

selling audiences to advertisers

How TV Teaches Stupidity

8 Changes I Experienced After Giving Up TV

Top 5 reasons NOT to watch TV this Fall

Spudding Out

Why TV Undermines Academics & Values

Newsweek is Bad for Kids

Bowling Alone - The Strange Disappearance of Civic America

TV Legitimizing Torture

The Assault on Reason

Twilight of the Books

Evolution Of Despair

Alzheimer's & TV

Preventing Obesity

Trained to Kill

Mind-altering media

Effects of TV - Before & After

A Powerful, Massive Protest: Diminish the Corporate Media's Power by Turning off Your TV for Good!

5 Ways Parents May Be Sabotaging Their Kids’ Health

Food companies manipulate kids and parents to create lifelong loyal customers

Is an overlooked source of childhood obesity staring us in the face?

Eight Reasons Why TV is Evil

"What most surprised me were the results I got from my study, which found that the more kids are exposed to consumer culture, they likelier they are to become depressed, suffer from anxiety, or experience low self-esteem. I would have thought it was the other way around — that consumer culture was the symptom, not the cause."

TV Limiting Technology

List & Comparison of TV blockers

Token Timer

Power Cop

Play Limit

 Power Plug Lock

Time Machine

Eye Timer

TV Be Gone

TV Be Gone - Article

Stanford Student Media Awareness to Reduce Television (SMART) curriculum is being used in California and Michigan. SMART in San Francisco, SMART in Canada