This Lifestyle Habit Is Making Kids Fat, Not Excessive Eating

When parents talk about their children being overweight or obese, they always put the blame on food. But researchers recently found the top reason why kids suddenly gain extra weight and eating has very little contribution. 

A new study, published in the journal Pediatric Obesity, found that watching television significantly contributes to childhood obesity compared to other common habits or behaviors. Researchers looked at how physical activity, sleep time, TV time, plant-based food consumption and “ultra-processed” food consumption play a role in children’s weight, MarketWatch reported Monday

The findings come from the analysis of data from 1,480 children who participated in a Spanish research network that aimed to see the effects of pollutants during pregnancy. Researchers asked parents about their children’s lifestyle habits, body mass index, waist circumference and blood pressure at ages four and seven. 

“Unhealthy behaviors tend to overlap and interrelate,” Martine Vrijheid, co-lead researcher from the ISGlobal Program on Childhood & Environment, said.  

Researchers found no link between obesity and common sedentary activities, like reading, drawing and doing puzzles, in children. However, children who spent more time on TV experienced problems with weight during the study. 

The study suggests TV affected their weight due to disrupted sleep and exposure to food and beverages high in sugar, salt and saturated fat. The findings come amid the failing efforts of the government and organizations to address the growing obesity epidemic in the U.S.

Estimates show that childhood obesity is getting worse despite more campaigns, including former First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative. The rates of obese American children, ages between 2 and 19 years, increased from 14 percent in 1999 to 18.5 percent in 2016. 

“Obesity is one of the biggest drivers of preventable chronic diseases and health care costs in the U.S.,” according to The State of Obesity public health project. 

The federal government is expected to spend nearly 14 percent of its health budget on diseases linked to overweight and obesity between 2020 and 2050, according to a “Burden of Obesity” report in October by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 

childhood obesity New study found a link between watching TV and obesity. Pixabay