TV in your child’s bedroom? Study says it equals an extra pound a year

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INDIANAPOLIS — Televisions in children bedrooms are a bad idea, according to researchers at the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In a report released this week, a study that began in 2003 revealed children with TVs in the bedroom tack on an extra pound a year compared to their peers without TVs.

“When I was growing up it was only radios and I didn’t have one of those,” said Sal Graziano, a grandfather living in Carmel, Ind.

His 11-year-old granddaughter has had her own TV since she was 6. Forty percent of children have TVs by the age of 6, and researchers say 60 percent of adolescents have one.

“I think that TV watching in the bedroom definitely has its issues,” says Dr. Lori Hurst, a family doctor at St. Vincent Health.

Those issues include disrupted sleep, inactivity and exposure to child-targeted junk food ads.

Central Indiana parents weighed in on our Facebook page.

  • “Both of my kids have TV’s in their room and neither are overweight. I couldn’t even pay them to sit still long enough to watch a movie, let alone get obese.”
  •  “No TV. We have certain times for that. We don’t even have a TV in our bedroom. Bedrooms aren’t for TV!”
  •  “Both of my boys have had a TV most of their lives. They are both high school athletes and do not camp in front of the TV because we as parents keep them active.”

Dr. Hurst says you can use the same principle for devices like iPads.

“It all accounts for screen time. I think that’s a good way to approach it. Some kids are not interested in TV at all, but they really love video games or surfing the web,” Dr. Hurst said. “Have general good parental oversight, set some time limits and engage kids in active play for at least an hour a day.”

Two hours of screen time after school is the recommended limit.

If you don’t want to get rid of the TV but want some control, there are parental devices such as lockouts and timers you can purchase.