The relationships among dietary habits, media usage, physical activity, and BMI in preschoolers born to overweight/obese mothers

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Anne Eyre Bowman (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Cheryl Lovelady

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to describe the dietary habits, media use, and physical activity of 2 to 5-year-olds born to overweight and obese mothers. Data were collected on 390 preschoolers enrolled in the KAN-DO study. As part of the study's baseline survey, mothers reported the time her preschooler spent watching TV and using the computer, the frequency with which certain food were eaten, and the average daily duration of outdoor play. Preschoolers were compared based on weight classification. A larger percent of healthy weight preschoolers ate dessert once per day as compared to overweight and obese preschoolers. A higher percent of obese preschoolers consumed juice <1 time or at least 2 times per day, in comparison with healthy weight and overweight preschoolers. There were no significant differences between the groups in TV or computer use or in having a TV in the bedroom. However, obese children watched TV while eating dinner more often than healthy weight or overweight preschoolers. Having a TV in the bedroom was associated increased frequency of consumption of soda, sweetened beverages, fast food, fries, and juice. Watching more hours of TV each day was associated with more frequent consumption of soda, sweetened beverages, fries, dessert, and juice. There were no significant relationships between food frequency and computer use. Obese preschoolers participated in significantly more minutes of outdoor play on weekends. Playing outdoors for more minutes on the weekends was significantly associated with decreased consumption of sweetened beverages. Preschoolers engaging in less than the median minutes of outdoor play on weekdays drank a greater quantity of sweetened beverages. Dessert consumption was negatively associated with preschooler BMI, while mother's BMI and eating dinner while watching TV were positive significant predictors of preschooler BMI. Results of this study suggest that there is a relationship between increased media use by preschoolers and a higher intake of less healthy foods. Preschoolers with a TV in the bedroom may also be more likely to consume less healthy foods. Not having a TV in the bedroom may be associated with healthier lifestyle choices, such as engaging in more minutes of weekend outdoor play and increased consumption of healthy foods. This research also shows an increased dietary intake while watching TV. In summary, parents should promote healthy behaviors, even in 2 to 5-year-olds, to decrease their preschooler's likelihood of being overweight.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2010
Childhood, Diet, Obesity, Physical activity, Preschooler, Television
Exercise for children $x Health aspects.
Children $x Nutrition.
Obesity in children.
Parental influences.
Parent and child.

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