Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Chew on This: Kids Eating Better at School but Worse at Home

WebMD Health News

Jan. 10, 2001 -- June Cleaver would pitch a fit, but in the real world more and more of us eat parked squarely in front of a TV set. So what's the harm in that? Well, maybe to kids' diets, according to a new study that finds that children who watch television during meals tend to eat more junk food -- pizza, salty snacks, and soda -- and fewer healthy fruits and vegetables than do kids in families that take the TV out of TV dinners.

But not all of today's nutrition news is bad: School lunches are leaner and more nutritious these days then they were a decade ago, according to a government report released Wednesday.

It's well known that a lifetime of healthy eating habits begins in childhood and that diets high in fat and low in fruits and vegetables are linked to risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and obesity. Poor eating habits and lack of exercise are the main reasons that childhood obesity is at an all-time high. The number of overweight children between ages 6 and 17 has doubled in the past 20 years.

In the study on TV habits -- published in the Jan. 8 issue of the journal Pediatrics -- researchers looked at the eating habits of 91 fourth, fifth, and sixth graders who watched television during two or more meals each day and compared them with those of kids who either never watched TV while eating or who watched it during just one meal per day.

The diets of the TV-watchers were significantly worse, the researchers found -- but why?

"Those who have the television set on during meals may see more advertising for snack foods," guesses lead study author Katherine L. Tucker, PhD, an associate professor at Tufts University School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston. "Or, if the television is on during meals, the meals become a secondary activity, not a primary one, so the focus is off the foods that children consume."

This makes sense to women's health expert Donnica Moore, MD, mother of a 6-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy. "Look at what we eat in front of the television as grown-ups," she says.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd