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Adult Fast-Food Diets Tied to Too Much TV as Teen
Date:1/30/2009

Hours of ads for greasy, sugary fare may be to blame, researchers say

FRIDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) - Teens who watch TV more than five hours a day are prone to become fast-food junkies as adults, a new study suggests.

The connection? Too much time spent watching ads for fast food restaurants, snacks and other unhealthy food choices, University of Minnesota researchers say.

"Television watching impacts diet choices adolescents make five years later," said lead researcher Daheia Barr-Anderson, an assistant professor of kinesiology.

Barr-Anderson also speculates that eating while watching TV makes children more likely to consume the foods they see advertised.

The report was published in the Jan. 30 online edition of the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

For the study, Barr-Anderson and colleagues collected data on 564 middle school students and 1,366 high school students. The team examined survey data on the number of hours the students watched TV each day and what they ate five years later as young adults.

Five years out, high-school students who had watched more than five hours of TV a day and were now young adults ate less fruit, vegetables, whole grains and calcium-rich foods. Instead, they ate more snack foods, fried foods, fast food, sugar-sweetened beverages and foods containing trans-fats.

To get children to eat healthier, parents need to play a more active role -- limiting TV watching and instilling healthful eating habits, Barr-Anderson said.

"Parents need to adhere to the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation that children watch less than two hours of quality television per day," she said. "Parents need to restrict what their kids are eating and try and provide a better example for their kids, making sure they are getting the nutrients and proper food that they need as opposed to the high-fatty foods,
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