Heavy TV viewing linked to more junk food intake in kids
Commercial TV viewing in the home was found to be related to greater junk food consumption among children, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Michigan.
The researchers at the University of Michigan interviewed over 100 parents about a wide variety of home and family characteristics, including child and parent media exposure, and child dietary intake.
Kristen Harrison and Mericarmen Peralta, conducted separate interviews with children in preschools to get a sense of what children thought made up a healthy meal.
The aim of the research was to see how family characteristics were associated with children’s dietary intake and perceptions of healthy meals.
Using food security as a marker, Harrison found that the media-junk food link is very strong among food-secure people, and almost zero among food-insecure people.
Food-secure people can afford to give in to cravings when watching food advertising. People in this category were more likely to consume junk food, and their children had distorted views on what constitutes a healthy meal.
Past research has linked child TV viewing to obesity in childhood, but not during the preschool years. It has also combined commercial TV with digitally-recorded TV, so there was no way to separate the two. Little research has investigated the development of ideas about healthy-meals in the preschool years.
Harrison and Peralta”s research aimed to address these less-studied topics to get a better sense of what children are learning about eating before they begin to make their own food choices.