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Preschoolers: TV and Snacks, a Bad Combo?

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)—Preschool-aged children in the United States consume 30 percent of their daily energy in the form of sweet or salty snacks and sugar-sweetened drinks. Right now, with everyone at home, kids may be in front of the television more than ever and snacking and TV may be a hard combo to break.

Snacking while you watch your favorite show may seem harmless. But studies show kids who eat in front of the tube are more likely to consume unhealthy foods. Now social scientists are examining patterns related to children’s snacking behaviors while watching TV. Out of the 47 low-income parents interviewed for the study, all of the parents reported that they routinely let their preschool-aged kids eat mostly unhealthy snacks while watching TV and some said their children didn’t like to eat snacks unless they were watching TV.

Experts say designate a snacking zone, like the kitchen, and encourage snack-free viewing while watching TV. Limit snacks throughout the day and don’t snack within two hours of mealtime. Snacks should be healthy foods, such as fruits, veggies, yogurt, or whole grain products.

Social scientists say parents in the study said their kids expect a snack with TV, and they also believed it helps promote social interaction, behavior management, and more food intake.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Writer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

(Sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5491209/, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/childrens-health/art-20044350)

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