VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – Turning
the TV off during mealtimes to help prevent childhood obesity may need to start
even before a child is born, according to a study to be presented Tuesday, May
6, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver,
British Columbia, Canada.
Researchers found that pregnant women who watched television
while eating were more likely to sit in front of the TV while feeding their
infant. TV watching during meals is discouraged because it is associated with
poorer quality diet, and mothers
pay less attention to whether their children are full.
healthy media habits during pregnancy may help reduce infants’ mealtime media
exposure and impact long-term media habits in children,” said lead author Mary
Jo Messito, MD, FAAP. “Reduction of mealtime TV viewing during pregnancy could
be an important component in early childhood obesity prevention programs.”
Messito and her colleagues analyzed data from the Starting Early project, an
early childhood obesity prevention intervention for low-income Hispanic
families at Bellevue Hospital Center/NYU School of Medicine, New York. Women were
enrolled in the study during pregnancy, and mother-infant pairs were followed
until the child was 3 years old. Women received individual nutritional
counseling during pregnancy and after the baby was born, participated in parenting
and support groups led by a nutritionist, and were given educational handouts
and a video.
their third trimester of pregnancy, 189 women were asked how often they watched
TV during mealtimes. When their infants were 3 months old, mothers were asked
how often their baby watched TV while being fed.
showed that 71 percent of pregnant women reported at least some mealtime TV
watching, and 33 percent of the mothers reported that their 3-month-olds were
exposed to the TV during feeding.
who watched TV during meals while pregnant were five times more likely to
expose their infants to TV during feeding than women who did not watch TV while
eating during pregnancy. Mothers who were younger than age 25 and those who did
not exclusively breastfeed also were more likely to expose their infant to TV while
amount of time women spent per day watching TV while pregnant was not
associated with their infants’ exposure to television while being fed.
studies have identified how mealtime TV viewing habits begin in infancy, and
what maternal characteristics during pregnancy and early infancy are associated
with them,” said Dr. Messito, project director of the Starting Early study. “Identifying
specific maternal behaviors and characteristics associated with child TV
viewing during meals will help early childhood obesity prevention efforts
seeking to promote responsive feeding and limit TV exposure during infancy.”
assistant Kenny Diaz will present “Relationship Between Prenatal TV
Watching During Meals and Infant TV Exposure During Feeding” from 12:30-12:45
Tuesday, May 6. To view the study abstract, go to http://www.abstracts2view.com/pas/view.php?nu=PAS14L1_4670.2&terms=.
study was supported by a grant from the Agriculture and Food Research
Initiative, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Childhood Obesity
Prevention: Integrated Research, Education, and Extension to Prevent
Childhood Obesity (2011-68001-30207).
The Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) are four
individual pediatric organizations that co-sponsor the PAS Annual Meeting – the
American Pediatric Society, the Society for Pediatric Research, the Academic
Pediatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Members of these
organizations are pediatricians and other health care providers who are
practicing in the research, academic and clinical arenas. The four sponsoring
organizations are leaders in the advancement of pediatric research and child
advocacy within pediatrics, and all share a common mission of fostering the
health and well-being of children worldwide. For more information, visit www.pas-meeting.org. Follow news of the PAS meeting on
Twitter at http://twitter.com/PedAcadSoc.