1. Potera, Carol


A study spurs renewed recommendations to keep TVs out of teens' bedrooms.


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Despite the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that parents not allow them to, almost two-thirds of teenagers have a TV set in their bedroom. A study in the April issue of Pediatrics is the first to compare the behavior of teenagers who have bedroom TVs with those who don't.


A group of 781 Minnesota high school juniors and seniors from different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds completed surveys describing their TV viewing habits as part of the Project Eating Among Teens study at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health. The students also answered questions about grades, study and exercise habits, family relationships, and diet.

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The group of 427 girls and 354 boys averaged 17 years of age. More boys (68%) than girls (58%) had a bedroom TV set. Fewer teens in higher income households had TV sets in their bedrooms (39%) than did teens in lower income families (on average, 66%). Among ethnic groups, Asian teens had the lowest proportion of bedroom TVs (39%), whereas black teens had the highest proportion (82%). Teens with a TV set in their bedroom watched four to five more hours of TV each week and spent two to three hours less reading and doing homework than did those whose bedrooms were TV free.


Girls with bedroom TVs spent almost half as much time doing vigorous exercise, ate fewer vegetables, enjoyed fewer meals with family, and drank more soft drinks than did girls without bedroom TVs. Boys with bedroom TVs ate less fruit, participated in fewer family meals, and had slightly lower grade point averages than boys without bedroom TVs.


Lead author Daheia Barr-Anderson says that nurses should discuss these findings with parents at children's health care visits. "The simple act of not allowing a TV in their child's room-or removing one that's already there-is easy and has potentially beneficial effects on their child's behavior and health," she told AJN.


Carol Potera


Barr-Anderson D, et al. Pediatrics 2008;121(4):718-24.



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