Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Restricting Kids' Video Time Reduces Obesity, Randomized Trial Shows

Entrenched sedentary behavior such as watching television and playing computer video games has been the bane for years of parents of overweight children and physicians trying to help those children lose pounds.

There has been little scientifically based research on the effect of limiting those activities, however.

University at Buffalo researchers now have shown in a randomized trial that by using a device that automatically restricted video-viewing time, parents reduced their children's video time by an average of 17.5 hours a week and lowered their body-mass index (BMI) significantly by the end of the 2-year study.

In contrast, children in the control group, whose video time was monitored, but not restricted, reduced their viewing time by only 5 hours per week.

Results of the study appear in the current issue (March 2008) of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.

"Our controlled experiment provided a test of whether reducing access to television and computer time led to a reduction in BMI," said Leonard Epstein, UB Distinguished Professor in the departments of Pediatrics, Health Behavior and Social and Preventive Medicine and first author on the study.

"Results showed that watching television and playing computer games can lead to obesity by reducing the amount of time that children are physically active, or by increasing the amount of food they consume as they as engaged in these sedentary behaviors."

The study involved 70 boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 7 whose BMI -- the ratio of weight to height -- was at or above the 75 percentile for age and sex. Eighty percent of the children were above the 85th percentile and nearly half were above the 95th percentile.

The children were assigned randomly to a control group or an intervention group. Each family received a device called TV Allowance for all video outlets in the home. All participants regularly watched television or played computer video games for at least 14 hours per week, as determined during a 3-week pre-study period.

Each family member had a private individual code to activate the electronic devices. Devices in "intervention" homes, but not "control" homes, had a set weekly time limit, which was reduced by 10 percent per week until viewing time was reduced by 50 percent. Children had to decide how to "spend" their allotted viewing hours.

Body mass index, caloric intake and physical activity were monitored every six months. Data were collected on socioeconomic status and characteristics of the neighborhood, including distance to parks, neighborhood activities and perceived neighborhood safety.

Changes in BMI between groups were statistically significant at 6 months and 12 months, but became more modest over time, results showed. The intervention group showed a steady decline in BMI over the two years, while the control group showed an increase followed by a steady decline.

"Although the changes overall were modest," commented Epstein, "a small effect of using this simple and inexpensive intervention [the device costs approximately $100], magnified across the population, may produce important reductions in obesity and obesity-related health problems."

Also contributing to the study from UB were James N. Roemmich, Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics and exercise and nutrition sciences; Jodie L. Robinson, MBA, senior counselor in the Behavioral Medicine Laboratory; Rocco A. Paluch, statistician in the UB Department of Pediatrics; Dana D. Winiewicz, senior research support specialist in pediatrics; and Janene H. Fuerch, student assistant. Thomas N. Robinson, M.D., M.P.H., from Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, Calif., also contributed to the study.

The research was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Diseases to Epstein and by the UB Behavioral Medicine Laboratory in the UB School of Medicine.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system that is its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Lois Baker | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Scientists develop tiny tooth-mounted sensors that can track what you eat
22.03.2018 | Tufts University

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>