Junk food diet linked to early TV habits

Kids who watch a lot of TV may grow up to eat junk foodYounger people who spend their time glued to the television are more likely to eat a regular fast-food diet when they reach adulthood, according to new research.

Scientists at the University of Minnesota suggest that a barrage of fast-food and junk food advertising is partly to blame for the connection.

“These less than healthy foodstuffs are commonly advertised on television while healthy foods rarely receive the same publicity,” said lead author Daheia Barr-Anderson, an assistant professor of kinesiology.

The findings, published online in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, reveal that middle school students who viewed more than five hours of television each day tended to have a poor diet.

They were more likely to consume snack foods, fried foods, fast food and sugary beverages than their peers who watched less TV.

Parents who are concerned about their children’s weight or health may want to consider ways of encouraging better eating choices, such as fruits and vegetables. They may also want to think about introducing nutritional supplements to help fill any gaps in their kids’ diets.