Kids, Video and Weight Gain

Entrenched sedentary behavior, such as watching TV and playing video games, has long been a concern for parents of overweight children and physicians. Yet little scientifically based research exists on the effect of limiting those activities.

Now UB researchers 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 significantly by the end of the two-year study. Results appeared in the March 2008 issue of Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.

“A small effect of using this simple and inexpensive intervention, magnified across the population, may produce important reductions in obesity and obesity-related health problems,” says Leonard Epstein, UB Distinguished Professor in the departments of Pediatrics, Health Behavior and Social and Preventive Medicine and the study’s first author.