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Health & Pregnancy

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TV and Soda Linked to Childhood Obesity

Diet or Not, too Much Soda in Front of the TV May Put Kids at Risk

Lifestyle Affects Childhood Obesity Risk

During the study, researchers surveyed 319 sixth- and seventh-grade students in California and collected information on their height, weight, and lifestyle habits.

They found that 35% of the students had a BMI at or above the 85th percentile (indicating being overweight) and half of these students had a BMI at or above the 95th percentile (indicating obesity). BMIs also tended to be higher among Latino students and lower among Asian students compared with non-Hispanic, white children.

The study showed that there was a significant relationship between BMI and both the hours of TV the children watched and the quantity of soft drinks they drank per day. For example:

  • Nearly half (47%) of children who watched three or more hours of TV a night had BMIs at or above the 85th percentile.
  • Only 26% of students who watched less than two hour of TV per night had BMIs at or above the 85th percentile.
  • 58% of students who drank three or more soft drinks (diet or regular) per day had BMIs at or above the 85th percentile.
  • 33% of students who drank less than three soft drinks per day had BMIs at or above the 85th percentile.

Researchers also found that Latino children watched more TV per night (an average of 2.4 hours per night) compared with others and drank more soft drinks (an average of 1.6 per day) than other kids.

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