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Hey Dieters: New Study Shows that Television Lowers Metabolic Rate!

September 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Parenting From Balance©

A Recent Study Shows That a Diet of Television Might be Even More Effective than Cutting out Fats

Last weekend I was at a birthday party for one of my son’s friends, and I got to talking with one of the parents there, a neurologist.  Our conversation lead to children and television, and he said, quite plainly, that television makes children fat because it lowers the watcher’s metabolic rate. I was astounded.  I mean, logically, you would assume that watching television has that effect simply because television watching typically corresponds with sitting passively.  But this was something else entirely.  The act of watching television actually decreases your body’s ability to burn calories.    Wow.  I wonder what other effects television watching has on our bodies…?  The study this Dad/neurologist cited is below. I thought you would be interested in reading about it.

Effects of Television on Metabolic Rate: Potential Implications For Childhood Obesity

Robert C. Klesges PhD1, Mary L. Shelton MS1, , Lisa M. Klesges MS2

1 From the Center for Applied Psychological Research, Department of Psychology, Memphis State University
2 From the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Tennessee, Memphis 

The effects of television viewing on resting energy expenditure (metabolic rate) in obese and normal-weight children were studied in a laboratory setting. Subjects were 31 children whose ages ranged from 8 to 12 years. All subjects had two measures of resting energy expenditure obtained while at rest and one measurement of energy expenditure taken while viewing television.

Results indicated that metabolic rate during television viewing was significantly lower (mean decrease of 211 kcal extrapolated to a day) than during rest.   

It was concluded that television viewing has a fairly profound lowering effect of metabolic rate and may be a mechanism for the relationship between obesity and amount of television viewing.

In other words, brains are significantly more active when they are not positioned in front of a television set!  So forget about whether television is making our children fat or not:  what does this tell us about the effect of television on a developing brain?  Does television make children with smooth brains?  (Not good, but the way.  Smooth brains are more or less dead brains.)

So bring out the sticks, tape, glue, paper, toiler paper rolls, boxes, crayons and scissors instead, and turn that television off!  Your child will have more fun, and you will, too! 

At Riviera PlaySchool in Redondo Beach we provide a wide variety of activities that stimulate your child’s brain the old fashioned, nature-ful way.

Lots of love,

Linda Shannon

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