Not Watching TV Could Save You $19,000


The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale sent out their monthly digest this week and highlighted some news that we missed. Two studies jumped out at us, as we thought they went quite nicely together. The first, a study out of the Oregon Social Learning Center in Eugene published in JAMA Pediatrics found that the less parents monitored media time for children, the more likely children were to be overweight. 

The mechanism for this phenomenon is still unclear, and Andrew Seaman explains in Reuters:

“For example, she said the results could be due to vigilant mothers encouraging their children to be more active instead of letting them watch TV. It could also be that their kids aren't spending as much time being exposed to food advertisements.”

The second study that piqued our interest was the cost of childhood obesity. Research out of Duke University analyzed a number of national studies on the costs of lifetime medical payments and found that, on average, a child who is obese at 10-years-old will spend about $19,000 more on medical costs throughout their life. Steven Reinberg, reports about why this information is so useful in the MSN Healthy Living article:

“Dr. Ruby Roy, a chronic disease physician at LaRabida Children's Hospital in Chicago, said data from this type of study "is helpful for insurance companies and policymakers. If we could save $19,000 on each child by paying for nutrition education, overhauling school menus and bringing gym back to all schools, you could see that those are good investments."

Our conclusion in the title of this posting is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it does make you think, doesn’t it?


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