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AAP Study shows Teens With TVs in Bedrooms Have Fewer Healthy Habits

Older adolescents who have a television where they sleep are less likely to engage in healthy activities such as exercising, eating fresh vegetables and enjoying family meals, according to the study “Characteristics Associated With Older Adolescents Who Have a Television in Their Bedrooms.”

A study group of 781 socioeconomically and ethnically diverse teens participating in the Project EAT study reported on their television viewing habits, study habits and grades, diet, exercise habits and “family connectedness.” About two-thirds of the teens, who had a mean age of 17.2 years, had a television in their bedroom or sleeping area. They watched four to five hours more television each week.
Girls with a TV in their bedrooms spent less time in vigorous activity each week than girls without TVs in their rooms (1.8 vs. 2.5 hours). They also ate fewer fresh vegetables (1.7 vs. 2.0 servings per day), and had fewer family meals (2.9 vs. 3.7 meals per week).
Boys with TVs in their rooms not only had lower fruit intake and fewer family meals, they also had a lower grade point average compared to their counterparts with no TVs in the bedroom (2.6 vs. 2.9). Overall, teens with televisions in their rooms ate more fast food, consumed more sweetened beverages and read or studied less.
The authors from the University of Minnesota conclude that refraining from placing a television in teenagers’ rooms may be a first step in helping to reduce screen time and subsequent poor behaviors associated with TV watching.
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