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Less TV May Help Obese Kids Lose Weight

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Unfortunately, "most people have living rooms with huge television sets, hundreds of channels, a state-of-the art sound system, a VCR or a DVD player that are set up to encourage physical inactivity while any exercise equipment is usually hidden in the basement," Epstein says.

Arthur Frank, MD, medical director for the weight management program at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., reviewed the study for WebMD. He says the most important point to take from it is that decreasing inactive behavior and increasing active behavior are the keys to staying fit. Adults have to play an active role in their children's health. Children, particularly overweight children, need good role models, he says.

"One solution is to take an ax to the television, but the trouble is that most adults don't want to do that and you can't say to kids 'no TV, for you, but I can watch as much as I want,'" Frank tells WebMD.

"In order to get kids to change their behaviors, adults must change their behaviors as well. You can't just signal out one person; it's a family effort."

Vital Information:

  • At least one in five American children is overweight, a number that has increased more than 50% in the past 20 years.
  • A new study shows that reducing the amount of time kids participate in sedentary behaviors, such as watching television or playing video games, can help overweight children lose weight.
  • Parents can help their children by budgeting television time in advance, encouraging physical activities, and being a good role model.
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