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Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Feb;85(2):355-61.

Television watching increases motivated responding for food and energy intake in children.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Sedentary activities, such as watching television, may disrupt habituation to food cues, thereby increasing motivation to eat and energy intake.

OBJECTIVE:

These experiments were designed to examine the effect of television watching on habituation of ingestive behavior in children.

DESIGN:

In experiment 1, all children worked for access to cheeseburgers in trials 1-7 (habituating stimulus). In trials 8-10, children in the control group continued to work for cheeseburgers without any dishabituating stimuli, whereas children in the other groups received either a novel food (French fries) or television as dishabituating stimuli. Responding for food and amount of food eaten were measured. In experiment 2, all children had access to 1000 kcal of a preferred snack food. One group watched a continuous television show, and the control groups either watched no television or watched a repeated segment of a television show, which controls for the television stimulus but requires reduced allocation of attention.

RESULTS:

In experiment 1, both the novel food and the television watching groups reinstated responding for food (P = 0.009) and increased the amount of energy earned (P = 0.018) above the level of the control subjects. In experiment 2, the continuous television group spent more time eating (P < 0.0001) and consumed more energy than the no television and the repeated segment groups (P = 0.007).

CONCLUSION:

These experiments show that television watching can dishabituate eating or disrupt the development of habituation, which may provide a mechanism for increased energy intake associated with watching television.

PMID:
17284729
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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