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TV & Food Don't Mix: Kids Eat More While Watching TV, Study Finds

Posted Oct 02 2008 3:12pm

We've heard much anecdotal evidence about how watching TV isn't conducive to being fit and trim, but now a new Canadian study -- hailed as "the first study of its kind" -- suggests thateating in front of the boob tube can cause kids to consume more. Not only that, but apparently watching TV overrides our ability to know when to stop.

"What Television Can Tell Us about Childhood Obesity," a study headed up by University of Toronto nutritionist G. Harvey Anderson, Ph.D., showed that kids who received an extra calorie bump prior to their meal but who did not watch TV ( "The Simpsons," by the way) ate the least.

Based on his results, Dr. Anderson this simple suggestion to parents—just turn off the TV during mealtime.

Hurray to Dr. Anderson for buttressing the don't-watch-TV-or-you-could-get-fat argument with bona fide data.

Gerry Pugliese contributed to this report for the SUGAR SHOCK! Blog.

However, kids who watched TV consumed an average of 228 extra calories at lunch.

As the study, from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), points out, while 228 more calores "may not seem like much, the effect of such extra calories on a regular basis adds up."

"In effect, mindless television watching produces mindless eating,” Dr. Anderson told Reuters reporter Randall Palmer.

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