More time in front of the TV and higher exposure to television ads may lead to increased consumption of sweetened beverages among children, concludes new study from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
The parents of more than 1,700 two- to four-year-olds in Sweden responded to questions about their children's TV and screen habits and consumption of sweetened drinks.
About one parent in seven indicated that they tried to reduce their children's exposure to TV adverts; the same parents stated that their children were less prone to drink soft drinks and other sweetened beverages. Children of parents who were less strict about TV watching were twice as likely to consume sweetened beverages every week.
Each additional hour in front of the TV increased the likelihood of regular consumption by 50 per cent. A similar link was found for total screen time.
The study also found that children with higher exposure to food ads on TV were more likely to consume sweetened beverages on a regular basis in a follow-up study conducted two years after the initial study. However, exposure to TV ad could not explain the link between TV habits and beverage consumption entirely. It is therefore likely that the TV programs watched also matter or that children simply enjoy drinking these types of beverages while watching TV.
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