Television Viewing and Child Obesity: A Causal Relationship? Research Paper by scribbler

Television Viewing and Child Obesity: A Causal Relationship?
A brief literature review to determine whether increased television viewing causes weight gain in children.
# 153104 | 889 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on May 03, 2013 in Communication (Television) , Nutrition (General) , Child, Youth Issues (General)

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This author studies a possible causal relationship between television watching and a high BMI index in children, and hypothesizes that children who watched more television were more likely to be overweight because of increased snacking and junk food advertisements on television. The paper reviews the literature on the correlation between a higher BMI and television viewing and finds conflicting evidence on whether it is television viewing itself or the content of the advertising that encourages obesity. The paper concludes that watching many hours of advertising promoting unhealthy products has a particularly negative impact on children's health, more so than adult's, although it is unclear if television watching in general is bad.

From the Paper:

"The correlation between higher BMI and television viewing has been noted for many years. In 1985, one study found that "in 12- to 17-year-old adolescents, the prevalence of obesity increased by 2% for each additional hour of television viewed. The associations persisted when controlled for prior obesity, region, season, population density, race, socioeconomic class, and a variety of other family variables (Dietz & Gortmaker 1985: 807). American children spend more time watching television "than doing anything else except sleeping" (Robinson 1999: 1531). However, one recent study of 3,563 children, ages ranging from 0- 12, seems to debunk the first part of my thesis: it suggested that it is what young children watch, rather than how much television children watch, that is a causal factor in rising rates of childhood obesity. "Controlled for the amount of physical activity and the children's gender, age, race/ethnicity, mother's body mass index (BMI), education and sleep time... among all children, commercial viewing was significantly associated with higher BMI, although the effect was stronger for children younger than 7 than for those older than 7, the study found" (Anderson 2010). The same was not found to be true for non-commercial television viewing, suggesting to the study's designers that it was the content of the advertising watched by children, not television viewing itself that was to blame."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Anderson, Sarah "Childhood obesity: It's not the amount of TV, it's the number of junk food commercials." ScienceDaily 10 February 2010. 22 December 2010 < /releases/2010/02/100209095753.htm>.
  • Dietz, William H., Jr. & Steven L. Gortmaker. "Do we fatten our children at the television set?obesity and television viewing in children and adolescents. Pediatrics. 75.5 (May 1985): 807-812
  • Landhuis Erik C., R. Poulton, D. Welch, & R.J. Hancox. "Programming obesity andpoor fitness: the long-term impact of childhood television." Obesity (Silver Spring). 6 (June 16, 2008):1457-9.
  • Robinson, Thomas N. "Reducing children's television viewing to prevent obesitya randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 283.16 (October 27, 1999): 1561.

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

Television Viewing and Child Obesity: A Causal Relationship? (2013, May 03) Retrieved February 26, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Television Viewing and Child Obesity: A Causal Relationship?" 03 May 2013. Web. 26 February. 2021. <>