Children who have a TV in their bedroom are more than twice as likely to be overweight, according to new study looking at concerns about health and TV watching.
The study found that kids ages 5 to 18 who had a TV in their room were also three times as likely to be at risk for heart disease and diabetes as those who don’t, reports NBC News.
Children who watched TV more than five hours a day were at twice the risk for fat around their internal organs, a dangerous precursor for disease.
“It’s really troubling to see these kids with fat around their heart and liver,” Amanda Staiano, a scientist with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., told NBC.
The findings held even after the researchers took into account other factors that affect weight, including as age, gender, physical activity level and diet.
Researchers told Fox News that 70 percent of children have a television in their bedrooms and that one third are overweight or obese.
Not surprisingly, the report showed that children who had a TV in their room clocked up more screen time than other kids, but the risks went beyond TV watching in general.
Researchers said TV viewing in the bedroom may pose extra risks linked with reduced amounts of sleep. Less sleep is itself a factor that has been linked to weight gain, Staiano told Fox.
The study suggests that TV-watching in the bedroom ‘may create additional disruptions to healthy habits, above and beyond regular TV viewing'.
"For instance, having a bedroom TV is related to lower amounts of sleep and lower prevalence of regular family meals, independent of total TV viewing time. Both short sleep duration and lack of regular family meals have been related to weight gain and obesity," the report said, according to Irish Health.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children's TV time be limited to two hours a day or less.