Public Health Nutrition

Research Paper

Social factors and television use during meals and snacks is associated with higher BMI among pre-school children

Lise Duboisa1 c1, Anna Farmera1, Manon Girarda1 and Kelly Petersona1

a1 Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Institute of Population Health, 1 Stewart Street – Office 303, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1N 6N5

Abstract

Aim The present paper examines the relationship between social factors, food consumption during television viewing, and overall television viewing and how these are associated with BMI when the role of familial and social factors are considered in a population-based birth cohort of pre-school children from Québec (Canada).

Methods The analyses were performed using data from the Longitudinal Study of Child Development in Québec (1998–2002) (LSCDQ). The study follows a representative sample (n 2103) of children born in 1998 in the Canadian province of Québec. A nutrition assessment was conducted on 1549 children aged 4·5 years and included a 24 h dietary recall, an eating behaviour and television viewing questionnaire, and a measurement of children’s heights and weights. Statistical analyses were performed.

Results Nearly one-quarter of children ate at least twice daily in front of the television. Children who consumed snacks while watching television on a daily basis had higher BMI than children who did so less frequently. Children who ate snacks in front of the television every day, or some times during the week, ate more carbohydrates (total), more fat and less protein, fewer fruits and vegetables, and drank soft drinks more often than children who never ate snacks in front of the television.

Conclusions Health professionals should target parents of children at risk of overweight/obesity with focused strategies to help children change the types of foods consumed during television viewing and to reduce the time spent watching television, particularly during meal times, which may change children’s dietary intake and eating patterns.

(Received May 17 2007)

(Accepted March 06 2008)

Correspondence

c1 Corresponding author: Email lise.dubois@uottawa.ca

0Comments