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Television Removal, Active Videogaming Have Salutary Effects on Kids' Weight — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
March 4, 2014

Television Removal, Active Videogaming Have Salutary Effects on Kids' Weight

By Joe Elia

Two studies in JAMA Pediatrics offer U.S. parents evidence to back their attempts at limiting sedentary screen time in their homes.

The first study reports that adding a physically active videogaming component to a weight management program increases physical activity significantly (if modestly). In a 16-week trial, researchers provided overweight children with active gaming devices in addition to the weight loss program given to the controls. The gamers had an average increase in moderate-to-vigorous activity of about 8 minutes per day relative to controls. That translates to about 4 pounds of fat over the course of a year.

The other study simply asked whether children between ages 10 and 14 had televisions in their bedrooms. The researchers then measured BMI 2 and 4 years later. Having a TV (60% did) was associated with an excess BMI of almost 0.6 at year 2 and almost 0.8 at year 4 relative to not having one.

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