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Last Updated: Nov 18, 2006 - 1:55:25 PM

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Health : Food & Nutrition

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Eating while Watching TV: What Is the Effect on Pre-school Children?
Apr 5, 2006 - 1:44:00 PM, Reviewed by: Dr. Priya Saxena

"This finding suggests the possibility that children who are given opportunities to eat while watching TV may become less sensitive to internal cues to satiety,"

 
Watching television while eating affects pre-school children's food intake in different ways, depending on how commonly the child eats in front of the TV, according to University of Pennsylvania researchers. They looked at "the effects of television viewing on children's lunch and snack intake in one condition when the children watched a 22-minute cartoon video on TV, and in another without the TV."

The 24 children, all 3 to 5 years old, were observed with their parents' consent at a day-care center, and parents supplied information for their kids' eating habits at home. Overall, the researchers found, the children ate significantly less while watching television, except for pre-schoolers whose parents say are accustomed to eating in front of the TV at home. Those children were likely to eat more than pre-schoolers with less "prior experience with eating during TV viewing."

"This finding suggests the possibility that children who are given opportunities to eat while watching TV may become less sensitive to internal cues to satiety," the researchers write. "To promote self-regulation of energy intake in young children, parents and caregivers should be advised against providing opportunities for children to eat during TV viewing."
 

- April 2006 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
 

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