TV During Meals

It may be tempting to let your toddler sit down with a meal or snack in front of the TV—if only for a few moments of peace.

While your best judgment provides the answer in your own home, keep in mind that eating while watching TV is a sedentary, passive activity and one of the risk factors for childhood obesity.

That doesn’t mean that your child will become obese if he or she eats while watching TV. It means that regularly eating while watching TV may raise the risk for obesity. Part of the reason why is that watching TV can lead to mindless eating (for anyone at any age). You aren’t paying attention to how full or satisfied you may be, and you keep popping more food into your mouth.

Keep in mind, too, that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zero screen time for kids under age 2, and only an hour a day for kids ages 2-5.

TV watching, even of high-quality programming, has not been shown to offer young children any benefits. Their waking hours are better spent in active watching and interaction, rather than passive watching.

Research also suggests that DVDs and videos developed for babies may instead have a negative impact on early language development.

See also ...

•  Childhood obesity: Early risks and prevention

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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