A Randomized Trial of the Effects of Reducing Television Viewing and Computer Use on Body Mass Index in Young Children

This randomized controlled clinical trial assesses the effects of reduced television viewing and computer use on the body mass index (BMI) of children.

What researchers found: Compared with the control group, children in the intervention group who had reduced television and computer use, demonstrated greater reductions in BMI, targeted sedentary behavior and energy intake. The intervention was more effective among families of low socioeconomic status. Changes in television viewing and computer use may be related more to changes in energy intake than to changes in physical activity.

Why we chose this publication: The statistically significant result of decreased energy intake among the intervention group, particularly among persons of low income, suggests that such changes in the home environment may limit exposure to food advertisements and reduce overeating and obesity in young children.

What researchers studied: Seventy 4 to 7-year-old children with BMI at or above the 75th BMI percentile for age and sex were randomized to either an intervention group or control group. The intervention aimed to reduce children’s television viewing and computer use by 50 percent. The control group did not reduce television viewing or computer use. Every six months during two years, BMI, television viewing and computer use, energy intake and physical activity were monitored.

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