About The Buzz: Mom’s TV Habits Affect Her Child’s Weight?

TheBUZZ Mom’s TV habits affect her child’s weight?


Pregnant mothers who regularly eat meals in front of the TV are likely to pass the habit on to their children, which could negatively affect the child’s weight.


Children rely on their caregivers to provide the necessary elements of a healthy, well-balanced diet. Dietary behaviors are established in early childhood, and while it is possible to change eating habits later in life, it is better to begin healthy eating habits early. Research has shown that more frequent family meals increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and milk1. However, the positive effects of family dinner are undone by TV viewing.


Researchers recently explored the impact of TV viewing in pregnant women, and what they found has important implications for weight maintenance and obesity prevention. When a woman regularly eats meals in front of the TV during pregnancy, she is likely to continue the habit after the birth of her child. Mothers who feed their newborns while watching TV run the risk of missing cues the infant uses to signal fullness. As a result, the child is overfed. Feeding infants and toddlers in front of the TV could eventually lead to mealtime TV becoming a lasting habit. Eating in front of the TV is associated with a lower quality diet, a decreased sensitivity to feeling full, and increased calorie consumption.2


When a home eating environment encourages children to have a healthy relationship to food, children reap the benefits. Research has shown that children who eat meals with their families have better vocabularies, greater cognitive development, academic achievement, social skills, family connectedness, and are less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors.3

3 Ways To Improve Your Home Eating Environment

  1. To make the most of family meals and model positive eating habits, turn the TV off!
  2. Include your kids in meal preparation to make family meals more feasible for busy parents.
  3. Check out these simple, time saving ideas to make family meals happen!


1 Rockett, H.R. (2007). “Family dinner: More than just a meal.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 107(9), 1498-501. Doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2007.07.004. View Article

2 “Mom-to-Be’s TV Habits Might Affect Her Child’s Weight: Study: MedlinePlus.” U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. View Article

3 Fruh, S.M., J. A. Fulkerson, L. J. Kendrick, et al. (2011). “The surprising benefits of the family meal.” The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 7(1), 18-22. doi:10.1016/j.nurpra.2010.04.017. Read Abstract

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