You Want A Healthy Kid? Get The TV Out Of Their Bedroom

tv in the bedroomRemember those positive childhood obesity trends we’ve been seeing lately? Well if you’d like the join the triumphant party, there’s one simple move that can greatly aid your child’s battle against obesity. The latest research confirms that one of the best ways to keep your kids healthy is to make sure that they never have a television in their bedroom.

Plainly put, children with televisions in their bedrooms are twice as likely to have high levels of fat mass. A new study looked at 369 children aged 5 to 18. The kids underwent body scans to determine the amount of fat mass in the body, as opposed to relying on body mass index, which is a less reliable indicator of health. The research took into account a variety of other measures that impact obesity rates like gender, physical activity level and diet.

We all know that too much television-watching in general can be bad for a child’s health. Watching more than two hours of television a day presented the same amount of risk as having a TV in the bedroom.

However, the placement of the TV presents something like a double-whammy for children and their health. When there’s a television in the bedroom, kids tend to get less sleep. Less sleep also increases the chances of obesity, as well as a plethora of other issues.

Now, there are plenty of parents who aren’t worrying about the research or the statistics. They’re focused on their individual child. And some of our kids are mature and responsible enough to handle a television in their bedroom. As parents, that’s still a personal choice we need to make for our family.

However, parents need to understand the risks associated if they’re going to make informed choices. And the proven fact of the matter is that televisions, and screen time in general, can have negative impacts on kids’ health if they aren’t properly controlled. These things are hard to control when they’re in your kids’ rooms.

Researchers said that 70% of the kids they worked with had televisions in their rooms. That’s a whole lot of children who are greater risk for a serious health issue. Of those kids, one third were overweight or obese.

The trends in this country are improving slightly, but there’s still plenty more that parents can do. Keeping televisions out of the bedroom could be a good part of the plan for families. Just something to keep in mind before your tween gets a shiny new flat screen for Christmas.

(Photo: MJTH/Shutterstock)

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  • alice

    you could go ahead and re-title this article: “You Want a Healthy SexLife? Get the TV Out of Your Bedroom!” :)

    there’s not many things i’m crazy stubborn on, but “tv-in-bedroom = bad” is one of them.

    beds are for sleep and sexytime!

    this type of research (related to children) is nearly obsolete anyway. teens are getting a lot of their entertainment from the internet now, including streaming tv shows. it seems a lot harder to keep the laptop/tablet/iphone out of the kid’s bedroom than the massive tv.

  • rebecca eckler

    My daughter, who does have a tv in her room, barely uses it, it turns out. Also, she’s in ballet twice a week, on the swim and basketball teams at school. Balance. Just like adults.

  • Carmen

    I would take this a step further and say no tv in the house. I haven’t had a tv for over ten year, and at first I missed it… for about two weeks. Then all of a sudden I had more time to read, to sleep, to play the piano, write in my journal, socialize, exercise. It goes on and on. BUT I don’t have kids. I do plan to continue with no tv if/when I have kids. I know people who say, “just wait til you have kids, you’ll change your tune!” But I have several friends w kids and no tv and they are doing just fine. When the kids are bored, they read, draw or play games together. I know it won’t be easy without a the tv/babysitter, but it’s a challenge I am willing to face to raise healthy, active kids.