Australian Council on Children and the Media

Attention to TV is key link between screen media use and obesity April 9, 2013

Using a new research method that tracks moment-by-moment use of electronic media by young people, researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital have shown that paying attention to TV is strongly associated with higher Body Mass Index (BMI). The study is published in the May 2013 issue of Pediatrics (available online April 8) found no association between BMI and attention to video games or computers, despite the duration of use.

 “These findings are based on real-time data on how kids are using media in today’s complex, multitasking environment,” says senior author Michael Rich, MD, MPH and Director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital. “They indicate that it is not just how much time we use screen media, but the content to which we pay attention and what we do while watching that increases risk of obesity.”

 

Bickham, D et al (2013) Characteristics of Screen Media Use Associated With Higher BMI in Young Adolescents. Pediatrics published online 8 April 2013