Found a great article about childhood obesity rates and their exposure to not just tv but junk food commercials.
The association between television viewing and childhood obesity is directly related to children’s exposure to commercials that advertise unhealthy foods, according to a new UCLA School of Public Health study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
The study, conducted by Frederick J. Zimmerman and Janice F. Bell, is the first to break down the types of television children watch to better determine whether different kinds of content may exert different effects on obesity.
The researchers gathered data from primary caregivers of 3,563 children, ranging from infants to 12-year-olds, in 1997. Through time-use diaries, study respondents reported their children’s activities, including television viewing, throughout the course of an entire weekday and an entire weekend day.
The analysis controlled for the amount of physical activity and the children’s gender, age, race/ethnicity, mother’s body mass index (BMI), education and sleep time.
Among all children, commercial viewing was significantly associated with higher BMI, although the effect was stronger for children younger than 7 than for those older than 7, the study found.
“The persistence of these results, even when the child’s baseline weight status was controlled, suggests that the association between commercial television viewing and obesity does not arise solely or even primarily because heavier children prefer commercial television,” said Zimmerman, professor and chair of health services at the School of Public Health and the lead author of the study.
Non-commercial viewing, including watching DVDs or educational television programming, had no significant association with obesity.
According to the authors, the findings strongly suggest that steering children away from commercial television may be effective in reducing childhood obesity, given that food is the most commonly advertised product on children’s television and the fact that almost 90 percent of children begin watching television regularly before the age of 2.
By the time they are 5 years old, children have seen an average of more than 4,000 television commercials for food annually. During Saturday morning cartoons, children see an average of one food ad every five minutes. The vast majority of these ads — up to 95 percent — are for foods with poor nutritional value, the researchers say.
“Commercial television pushes children to eat a large quantity of those foods they should consume least: sugary cereals, snacks, fast food and soda pop,” Zimmerman said.
Why does it take a study to point out what to me is common sence? Part of growing up in our society today is to learn to be a consumer…..the first 20 years they sell sugar…and the rest of your life they feed you diet food to NEGATE the sugar you were sold for the first 20 years. I know…lets all get tivo and computers and forget this whole commercial thing…then the only brands we would hear about would incorporate themselves into the tv itself. Scary thing is, the companies are getting hip and worming their way into tv itself. Project runway has l’oreal and overstock.com , Extreme makeover:home edition is Sears, American Idol is a coke commercial (every week they drink a different coke product..theres a coke red room for chrissake). Whats next for kids when they realize the consumer shift away from tv, away form the commercials that make kids go MOMMY I WANT FROSTED FLAKES? are we gonna have Sponge Bob work at McDonald’s? IS Hannah Montana going to eat only Kelloggs?