Not all TV snacking is equally bad

February 26, 2002 in Healthy Eating, Nutrition for Children and Teenagers, Weight Management

Not all TV snacking is equally bad

Even though overweight children in a new study spent similar amounts of time snacking in front of the television as thinner kids, they were more likely to munch on high-calorie, high-fat foods, a factor that undoubtedly contributed to their weight problems, say researchers from Penn State University.

In the study of 186 young girls, investigators found that while overall the girls spent an average of about 1.5 hours a day watching television and snacked with similar frequency, those youngsters who consumed the most cookies, chips and other junk food while they watched the tube tended to be overweight and to have at least one parent who also was overweight.

These findings suggest that it's not just television watching per se, but what the kids are eating that counts when it comes to overweight. Parents should think about the snacks their kids are having while they are watching TV. In doing so, parents could have a big impact on the health of their children and themselves as well.

The researchers also found that girls were most likely to gain excess weight between ages 5 and 9 if they had a parent who was overweight.

Healthy snacks include apples, grapes, carrot and celery sticks, and unbuttered popcorn.

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