Kids waist size predicted by TV viewing

New research, published online in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, has suggested that increased TV viewing in children can lead to a larger waist size.

Kids waist sizes predicted by TV viewing

by Louise-Anne Geddes, Mindful Mum, 16th July 2012

The Canadian study found that the number of hours a child viewed between the ages of two and four could be linked with their waist circumference at age 10.  According to the researchers, the relationship between early childhood viewing habits and physical fitness in school age children has not been extensively explored before this study.

Research methods

The study examined data from 1314 children using the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development.  They looked at the association between parental reports of weekly hours of television viewing (which was assessed at 29 and 53 months), and direct measures of second grade muscular fitness using performances on the standing long jump test (SLJ) and fourth grade waist circumference.


The researchers found that the average amount of television watched by the children at the start of the study was 8.8 hours a week. This increased on average by six hours over the next two years to reach 14.8 hours a week by the age of four-and-a-half.  The data showed that an increase in TV viewing corresponded with a decrease in their standard long jump performance.

Subsequent increases in viewing were also associated with further deterioration in performance.  The study concluded that ‘watching television excessively in early childhood, may eventually compromise muscular fitness and waist circumference in children as they approach pubertal age’.

Source:  The International Journey of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, Early childhood television viewing predicts explosive leg strength and waist circumference by middle childhood, 16th July 2012

Photography: @Flickr

+Louise-Anne Geddes

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