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Why are our children getting fatter?
Many children are increasingly having problems with their weight. Of course, nutrition plays an important role here, but lifestyle also has an impact that should not be underestimated. The researchers found that television is the most commonly associated with childhood obesity among all lifestyle factors.
The latest research by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health and the University of Pompeu Fabra found that there is a strong link between childhood obesity and television. The results of the study were published in the English language journal "Pediatric Obesity".
Television favors obesity
Five lifestyle factors were compared in the new study. The researchers analyzed the data from 1,480 children aged four and seven, taking into account their BMI, blood pressure and waist size. Of all the lifestyle factors examined, television was most associated with childhood obesity. For the study, the children's parents were asked to fill out questionnaires about their children's lifestyle.
What was examined?
Five behaviors were examined: physical activity, sleep time, TV time, vegetable food consumption and the consumption of ultra-processed food. In order to calculate the health effects of these behaviors, the researchers measured the body mass index (BMI), waist size and blood pressure of the children at the age of four and then again at the age of seven.
Where did the data come from?
The study was based on data from children included in a Spanish research network, which examined the role of pollutants during pregnancy and their effects on children.
Other sedentary jobs were also considered
In their investigation, the researchers also measured the time that children spent on other sedentary activities. These activities included reading, drawing, and puzzles. It turned out that these activities were not related to being overweight or obese.
Why does television make our children fat?
A theory of why television is associated with obesity is based on the fact that children see advertisements for foods and drinks with a high sugar, salt and fat content during the program. This could motivate you to consume more of these foods.
Bad sleep from television
In addition, it is known from a separate study published in the journal "Experimental Physiology" that television disturbs sleep. People who regularly sleep less than seven hours a night have a lower content of certain molecules, which can play a key role in regulating vascular health and can be biological indicators of cardiovascular health. (as)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Rowaedh Ahmed Bawaked, Sílvia Fernández ‐ Barrés, Eva Maria Navarrete ‐ Muñoz, Sandra González ‐ Palacios, Mònica Guxens et al .: Impact of lifestyle behaviors in early childhood on obesity and cardiometabolic risk in children: Results from the Spanish INMA birth cohort study, in Pediatric Obesity (query: 13.12.2019), Pediatric Obesity