In children aged 2-5, exposure to more than 2 hours per day of television/videos significantly increases the risk for obesity.
Televisions in children’s bedrooms increase the impact of television on weight status.
For each 1 hour increase in TV viewing, 3-year olds had increased intake of sugar sweetened beverages, fast food and red and processed meat. Their total energy intake and percent of energy from trans fat also increased.
Increased TV time was also associated with lower fruit and vegetable, calcium, and fiber intake.
Most children under age 6 cannot distinguish between programming and advertising.
Television food advertising increases children’s preferences for the foods advertised and their requests to parents for those food.
Children eat more when they see food advertising than when they see other types of commercials.
44% of 2-to 4-year-olds have TVs in their bedroom.
73% of 2- to 4-year-olds watch TV every day.
Children age 5-8 spend an average of 3 hours a day watching television.
TV was viewed as educational, and almost like preschool at home.
Screen time was also viewed as down time or break time (a way to keep the child still and get things done).
Any messages to avoid TV and other educational games via smart phones, tablets, computers, etc., need to be realistic.
It is important to ascertain current family values around TV and offer alternatives to TV time.
Remind them that one of the best ways for children to learn is through play and human interaction.
For this age group, help parents identify ways to limit:
the amount of TV watched,
exposure to advertisements,
set limits around gaming (on screen)
eating while watching TV
placing a TV in their child’s bedroom
replacing TV time with screen time (smart phones/tablets/computer)
“educational gaming “ and “educational TV”
Offer strategies to limit TV viewing and gaming on any screen – (TV, tablet, computer, or console) early on, so that the child grows up with a set of expectations/rules around TV and gaming.
Can you tell me about your preschooler and TV watching and computers?
Tell me about the kind of TV your preschooler watches?
Can you tell me who decides what shows your preschooler watches?
Does your child enjoy computer time or play on your phone or tablet?
Did you know that commercials are a link between TV watching, weight gain, and unhealthy eating habits? Would you like to talk about ways to reduce exposure to commercials?
Where does your child eat snacks when they are at home?
It was hard enough when parents had to make decisions about TV time. Parents today are faced with “screen time” — TV, computers, smart phones, video games, and iPads!
If screen time has gotten a bit out of control in your home, you are not alone. We understand that managing it can be a struggle. Keep in mind that even if you can’t cut out screen time completely, cutting back will help.
For realistic parent derived strategies for managing screen time, refer parents to the following sections on
Quick Tips: Keep Your Child Healthy widget. Simply select Screen Time to generate the results.
Physical Activity for Preschoolers
Also take advantage of the
HealthyGrowth app to create personalized patient education for your patient.