Back to Family Entertainment


Busy Family Entertainment



Is TV Making Our Kids Fat?
By Sandy Baker

My youngest child often starts a conversation with, "Mom, back in the old days, what did you do when..." Sound familiar?

Take the subject of television. What did we do before the invention of the boob tube? How did we survive childhood without the all-you-can-watch buffet cable access provides today? If I remember correctly, I was a kid who had no problem filling my days with "stuff" to do. Most kids I knew had a bike, or a pair of skates, or could at least walk to pick up a friend or two to hang out together, enjoying each other's company. Television was reserved mostly for some Saturday morning cartoons and the evening news for my parents. Otherwise the set was turned off.

For the most part, my childhood was filled with activities that required me to be an active participant rather than a passive bystander. Riding bikes and Friday nights at the roller skating rink lasted from childhood into adolescence. That active lifestyle was mirrored in our waistlines. Not that it was unheard of to be overweight until recent years. However, the increase in obesity was greatly influenced by subtle changes in our pop culture, such as expanded television schedules, fast-food restaurants, and other forms of passive entertainment.

Obesity and Type II (adult-onset) diabetes have risen to all-time highs, and several factors seem to be contributing factors; diet and lack of physical activity are at the leading edge. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that children watch an average of three hours of television a day and adults four hours a day. Dr. William Dietz states, "Almost anything else uses more energy than watching television. There is no waking activity that we do that burns fewer calories than watching TV -- a body in front of the tube is a body at rest."

Is it the fault of fast-food chains and television networks that our children's health is in the state that it is? Or is the problem two-fold? I believe that the problem lies ultimately with our taking responsibility for the health and welfare of ourselves and our children. Would it hurt any of us to turn our television sets off just one night a week in exchange for a family walk around the block?

As parents, one of our biggest responsibilities to our children is to demonstrate healthy habits and lifestyles. It may take some getting used to, but over time, small changes in our everyday lifestyles can have a tremendous ripple effect on the whole family.

While writing articles on the side, Sandy aspires to complete her first book in the near future. In addition to caring for, and sometimes home-educating, her two very active children, she also enjoys teaching private music lessons and performing in local orchestras. Sandy is the owner of two home-based businesses, which she has operated for 13 years. She and her husband of 18 years live just outside of Dallas with their two children and seven dogs. Contact Sandy at

Editor's Note:


TV-Turnoff Network provides additional information about the link
between viewing habits and health.

Turn off TV, Turn on a Healthier Lifestyle (pdf)

Facts and Figures about our TV Habit (pdf)

Warning: Too Much TV Is Hazardous To Your Health (pdf)

Relationship of Physical Activity and Television Watching with
Body Weight and Level of Fatness Among Children

Television's Influence on Children's Diet and Physical Activity

Television Viewing and Obesity in Adult Males

Television Viewing and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Young

Television Viewing and Obesity in Adult Females



Home |Shopping | Advertising | Link To Us | Sponsor a Contest |
| Media | Parent Business Directory | Direct sales Directory |

Privacy Statement. Visit our Liability Disclaimer page. BPO is for entertainment and educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of a professional. Check with your providers before following advice or content herein. ©1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004. BPO is property of the Busy Family Network (BFN), All Rights Reserved. No part of the website, newsletters or other materials can be reproduced in any form without written consent. Parts of the site and materials include, but are not limited to, graphics, copy/content, HTML, Meta tags, template and web layouts or other features. Each web page and its source code is valued at $5000 US. By using any part of any page on BPO without permission, you are agreeing to pay the owner and/or the artist/writer $5,000.

Copyright 1999-2009