How Television Viewing is influencing Childhood Obesity?
Childhood obesity is something we ignore and consider as a “healthy child.” However, we do not realize the body’s weight influences overall personality to act in a society with friends and families. Besides, it impacts the cognitive behavior of children as well.
Talking about using technology or watching television brings several uncontrolled changes in a human being, such as a change in behavior, physical impairment and less physical activities, cognitive changes, etc.
But when it comes to children watching TV without setting any schedule creates dangerous outcomes for them. Childhood obesity is one of the prevalent and severe problems in the world. And here, parenting style becomes the only way to reduce the TV addiction of your child.
What is childhood obesity?
In general, the word obesity defines an excessive amount of fat in a person’s body, which leads to several issues in the body. Childhood obesity is becoming a serious issue day by day. It has become one of the most important health problems, especially in the United States.
The most welcomed method of screening for overweight is calculating Body Mass Index (BMI). Deviant BMI cut-offs in kids are determined based on age and gender-specific percentiles based on growth charts.
And there are many different definitions of obesity worldwide. Nevertheless, a BMI>85th percentile is described as obesity in the US and UK.
Current statistics of childhood obesity
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data, the pervasiveness of obesity among the children of the US has been increasing since 1990.
Similarly, Data from WHO (1 April 2020) shows that approximately 340 million children and adolescents at the age of 5-19 were overweight in 2016.
Besides, another survey of 2019 estimated 38.2 million children were having obesity problems in both rural and urban areas.
Surprisingly, in the year 2020, almost 158 million children-adolescents (5 to 19 years) were estimated obese. It has clear evidence of the consequences of lockdown during covid 19.
According to the study of Cuschieri & Grech ( 2020), there are three major pillars associated with the Obesity epidemic and i.e., (i) genetic, (ii) behavioral, and (iii) environmental determinants. During covid 19, two major factors get affected due to which cases of childhood obesity have increased.
Root causes of childhood obesity
Childhood obesity has become a very popular and one of the most common public health issues worldwide. Several reasons can cause obesity in children of different ages.
Moreover, genetics is one of the major reasons that can cause obesity in a child. The Ecological Model of Davison et al. stated that factors for childhood obesity are:
- Diet of the children
- Less physical activity.
- Parenting style
- Environmental factors
- Personal psychological issues
- Social issues
How is childhood obesity-related to television viewing?
Where technology has given us many benefits, but there are several downsides to it too. Likewise, it has become another cause of obesity too.
When a child uses excess time in front of the tv, there is very less physical activity for their body.
There are many examples you can connect childhood obesity with:
- Screen time: according to Kaiser Family Foundation, children of the age group 8-18 spend most of their time in front of the screen for entertainment every day. It does not include the time they spend on the computer at home or school for educational purposes.
- Eating habits: eating habits can mainly cause childhood obesity. Children nowadays eat unhealthy junk food instead of healthy food. Kids sit in front of the tv and eat junk for hours without any physical activity, which causes obesity in them.
- Media usage during covid 19: besides all things during the covid period, there has been wide media usage among teenagers mostly. Including online classes during pandemic has increased sit and eating habits. While studying at home, children lacked physical activities that caused obesity.
As you can now sum up, childhood obesity is a very outspread issue in the world. It can become a disease if it is ignored and not diagnosed over time. Besides, it can be caused by many reasons in which genetics are the most major reason, but other factors like environmental and psychological factors can be controlled.
There are several reasons for obesity, including dieting habits, parental skills, bad eating habits, etc.
For today’s generation, the media plays an important role in childhood obesity. And children spend most of their time in front of a tv screen or stick with smartphones just for entertainment purposes. It does not include the time they spend on the computer for educational purposes.
Homeschooling/virtual classes during covid 19 periods reduced the physical activity because children become more habitual of sitting at a place.
If your child has this problem, we recommend that you pay attention to their health and diet as a parent. And get your child medical treatment as well.
Cuschieri, S., & Grech, S. (2020). COVID-19: a one-way ticket to a global childhood obesity crisis?. Journal Of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders, 19(2), 2027-2030. doi: 10.1007/s40200-020-00682-2