The AAP statement reminds pediatricians that they should be asking two critical questions during routine well-child visits: "How much screen time is being spent per day?" and "Is there a TV set or Internet connection in the [child's] bedroom?"
Having a TV set in the child's bedroom seems to have an even more profound impact on children's weight.
"I think [asking these questions] is really an advantageous recommendation," said Dana Rofey, an assistant professor in the Weight Management and Wellness Program at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. "Several years ago, the AAP [recommended] that pediatricians track body-mass index. This is the other side of the coin."
"Kids spend an average of seven hours a day with media, and that media potentially affects virtually every concern that parents and pediatricians have about children from sex to drugs to obesity to school achievement," added Strasburger, a professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque. "Spending 20 seconds to ask two media-related questions doesn't seem like that onerous a request."
The policy statement also recommends that pediatricians urge parents to discuss food advertising with their children and discuss healthy eating habits.
And "parents need to understand that the research is now clear and convincing that exposure to screen time is one major factor in child and adolescent obesity," stressed Strasburger. "So if your child is watching five hours of TV a day, his or her risk of being obese is several times increased over a child who watches less than two hours a day, which is what the AAP recommends. If parents would just observe the AAP guidelines about media use, they'd be in great shape and so would their kids."
In response to the AAP recommendation, the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative i
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