Send your comments and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Ctr.
Boston Medical Center
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Cambridge Health Alliance
Caritas St. Elizabeth's Medical Ctr.
Children's Hospital Boston
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Joslin Diabetes Center
Mass. General Hospital
Mass. Health Law
New England Baptist Hospital
Short White Coat
Tufts-New England Medical Center
UMass Memorial Medical Center
University of Massachusetts
VA Medical Centers
A Healthy Blog
Running A Hospital
Nature Network Boston
SciBos - Corie Lok's blog
Dr. Flea's blog
Nurse at small
Your Child's Health Blog
Healthy Children blog
Other Globe Blogs
Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Boston Globe Health and Science staff:
Karen Weintraub, Deputy Health and Science Editor, and Gideon Gil, Health and Science Editor.
Short White Coat blogger Ishani Ganguli
Monday, February 5, 2007
Turning off the TV won't make kids more active
Cutting down on how much television adolescents watch doesn't necessarily translate into more physical activity, Harvard researchers report in today's issue of Pediatrics.
"Kids have other activities that they do if they turn off the TV," said Dr. Matthew W. Gillman, a professor at Harvard Medical School and director of an obesity prevention program at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. "They don't necessarily go out and play or join a sports team."
Researchers tracked 10,000 10- to 15-year-old boys and girls for four years, asking them to report their TV habits and physical activity levels. The results ruled out any major association between the two.
Programs that work on sedentary behaviors like TV watching and physical activity as separate, independent elements hold more promise for helping children avoid excess weight during adolescence, the authors concluded.
They noted that adolescents may gain weight if they watch a lot of television because of what they also do in front of the TV set. There's some evidence that kids who watch TV ads for unhealthy foods wind up eating more of them. Or they just snack while they watch.
"If we want to get the greatest bang for our buck in terms of interventions to prevent obesity, we're going to have to work on both TV and physical activity independently," Gillman said.