Telling Kids to Turn Off the TV Fixes More Than One Problem

Staff Writer
Swedish study finds that children’s TV time and sweetened drink intake are linked

Most would agree that twenty-first century children could all do with less time in front of the television and less sugar in their diets. But in the contemporary world, how do parents make this happen? A recent study conducted at the University of Gothenberg in Sweden suggests that the answer is easier than you might think. The two problems appear to be each other’s solutions.

Imagine a child who drinks one glass of soda a day with dinner. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Imagine, though, if this soda was swapped out for water. In a year, the child would take in 36,500 less calories and 10,220 less grams of sugar.

Lowering children’s intake of sweetened beverages is one of the most effective ways to improve nutrition and overall health. Unfortunately, with so many different types of sodas and sugary drinks on the market, achieving this feat is not the easiest. 

According to Stina Olafsdottir, one of the researchers involved in the Gothenberg study, “The children who watched more TV were more likely to drink these [sweetened] beverages. In fact, each additional hour in front of the TV increased the likelihood of regular consumption by 50 percent.”

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The correlation comes as music to parents’ ears. Give kids a book instead of a remote and you might be giving them better diet habits in turn.