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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Feb;18 Suppl 1:S99-101. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.438.

The Fun Families Study: intervention to reduce children's TV viewing.

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Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, USA.


Media consumption may contribute to childhood obesity. This study developed and evaluated a theory-based, parent-focused intervention to reduce television and other media consumption to prevent and reduce childhood obesity. Families (n = 202) with children ages 6-9 were recruited from a large, urban multiethnic population into a randomized controlled trial (101 families into the intervention group and 101 into the control group), and were followed for 6 months. The intervention consisted of a 2-hour workshop and six bimonthly newsletters. Behavioral objectives included: (i) reduce TV watching; (ii) turn off TV when nobody is watching; (iii) no TV with meals; (iv) no TV in the child's bedroom; and (v) engage in fun non-media related activities. Parents were 89% female, 44% white, 28% African American, 17% Latino, and 11% Asian, mean age 40 years (s.d. = 7.5); 72% were married. Children were 49% female, mean age 8 years (s.d. = 0.95). Sixty-five percent of households had three or more TVs and video game players; 37% had at least one handheld video game, and 53% had three or more computers. Average children's weekday media exposure was 6.1 hours. At 6 months follow-up, the intervention group was less likely to report the TV being on when nobody was watching (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 0.23, P < 0.05), less likely to report eating snacks while watching TV (AOR = 0.47, P < 0.05), and less likely to have a TV in the child's bedroom (AOR = 0.23, P < 0.01). There was a trend toward reducing actual media consumption but these outcomes did not reach statistical significance. Effective strategies to reduce children's TV viewing were identified.

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