Now device to help fat kids cut TV time....

March 4, 2008 8:21am CST
A monitoring device that cut TV and computer time in half helped young, overweight children eat less and lose weight, U.S. researchers said on Monday. And it worked without creating a lot of conflict between parents and their kids, they said. "It reduces all of those battles. The parents have to make one decision. After they make the decision, the device does the rest," said Leonard Epstein of the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York, whose study appears in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine. Many studies have shown that children across the industrialized world are getting heavier, brought on by a sedentary lifestyle, too much fast food, too few fruits and vegetables and TV advertising that encourages children to make unhealthful food choices. Other studies have found that TV viewing has been linked to obesity. Epstein wanted to see if a device that limited TV viewing could help younger children. His team studied 70 children aged 4 to 7 whose body mass index or BMI was at the 75th percentile or higher for their age and gender. A BMI is a ratio of height and weight. All of the children regularly watched TV or played computer games at least 14 hours per week at home. About half of the children had a TV monitoring device attached to their computers and TV sets that gradually reduced their TV time by 50 percent. Researchers used the TV Allowance device made by Mindmaster Inc. in the study, but such machines are also made by other companies. The children needed to enter an access code to watch TV or play on the computer. When their allowance of screen time was used up, the TV or computer would not work.
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