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HHS HealthBeat (April 25, 2013)

Watching too closely




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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Teens who pay attention to TV may gain something they don’t want – extra weight. Researchers who looked at teen attentiveness to TV programs say teens who were more attentive had higher body mass indexes, or BMIs – how much they weighed, compared with their height.

At Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital, David Bickham looked at data on 91 teens ages 13 to 15:

“Increased attention paid to TV was associated with increased BMI. We didn’t find any evidence that it was the total amount of time spent watching TV, or the time spent playing video games or computers.”

Bickham thinks the teens were paying more attention to the TV’s food ads – so, he says, watching programming without the ads might help.

The study in the journal Pediatrics was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: May 2, 2013