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African-American Grils' Dietary Intake While Watching Television

Journal Article
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Objective: Television viewing has been associated with childhood obesity, although the mechanisms that link television viewing to higher BMI have not been established. Therefore, our objectives, in this report, were to describe the amount and types of foods that African-American girls consume while watching television and to examine the associations between African-American girls' BMI and the food they consume while watching television.

Research Methods and Procedures: Data were collected from 210 8- to 10-year-old African-American girls at four field centers by trained and certified nutritionists. Two nonconsecutive 24-hour dietary recalls were collected from each girl. For each eating episode reported, the girls were asked if they had been watching television while eating. Height and weight were collected using standard methods and used to calculate BMI.

Results: The data were analyzed separately by field center. The proportion of average daily energy intake that the girls consumed while watching television ranged from 26.9% to 35.0%. At all field centers, 40% to 50% of evening meals were consumed while watching television. None of the Spearman correlations between girls' BMI and the amount and type of foods consumed while watching television or at other times during the day were statistically significant (p > 0.05).

Discussion: This research revealed that a significant proportion of African-American girls' daily energy intake is consumed while watching television. Interventions that target reductions in food consumption while watching television or reducing television viewing may be effective strategies to decrease children's energy intakes. These results support a need for research to test the efficacy of these approaches.

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