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Each hour of television-watching associated with 0.3 lbs weight gain over 4 years
Thursday, June 23, 2011 8:02 am Email this article
Each hour of television-watching was associated with a weight gain of 0.3 pounds over 4 years according to a study by Harvard researchers. Subjects
Subjects: 120,877 U.S. women and men
The findings are based on data from three large, long-term government-funded trials looking at diet, lifestyle and health in adults: the Nurses’ Health Study, which has tracked 121,701 women since 1976; the Nurses’ Health Study II, which has followed 116,686 women since 1989; and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which includes 51,529 men enrolled in 1986.
The new analysis involves 20 years of data on 120,877 men and women from these three cohorts. Researchers tracked changes in participants’ eating and lifestyle habits—and weight—every four years.
Average Weight Gain
Average weight gain over 4 years: 3.4 lbs or 2.4%
The average 4-year weight gain in this study was 3.4 pounds or 2.4 percent of their body weight.
Comments from the Lead Author
Comments from Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian
“TV watching has stronger links to weight gain than other sedentary activities,” says Mozaffarian, likely because it encourages snacking both while watching and afterward, due to the influence of food commercials.
“Turning off the TV is therefore very important — in particular, to improve diet. If TV must be watched, then it should be done without any eating and without any food or beverage advertising.”
“Small dietary and other lifestyle changes can together make a big difference — for bad or good,” says Mozaffarian.
“That makes it very easy to gradually gain weight unintentionally, but also means that a little bit of attention to a handful of dietary and other lifestyle changes can prevent this.”
Study’s Limitations: self-reported portion size, and were white, educated adults
The study limitations included that it relied on self-reported portion size and used different serving sizes between foods.
The study was also of mostly white, educated adults.
Mozaffarian D, Hao T, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Hu FB. Changes in diet and lifestyle and long-term weight gain in women and men. N Engl J Med. 2011 Jun 23, 364(25):2392-404.
AUTHOR’S CONTACT INFORMATION
Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH
665 Huntington Ave, Bldg. 2-319
Boston, MA 02115 USA
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