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Reducing Childrens Television Viewing to Prevent Obesity

August 1999

Thomas N. Robinson


Nearly 200 third- and fourth-grade students were randomly assigned to two groups: a treatment group who received a long-term (18 lessons over the course of 6-months) curriculum on reducing television watching and video game playing, and a control group who did not. After the period, children in both groups were examined vis-à-vis their health. Children in the treatment group reported significantly less hours spent in front of the television, and had significantly lower BMIs, smaller waist circumferences, and so on.

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Policy Implications

Reducing television viewing may be a very cost-effective manner to fight childhood obesity. While there were no statistically differences between the two groups regarding high-fat food intake, and moderate to vigorous physical activity, students who spent less time in front of the TV were less likely to be obese.

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