Watching TV commercials, not the sedentary act of watching TV itself, contributes to obesity in children, according to a study published by the American Journal of Public Health.
The study found that the average child sees about 4,000 television commercials advertising food each year. During Saturday morning cartoons, kids see a food ad about every five minutes. Of that food advertised, about 95 percent of it is of poor nutritional value.
In the study, Associations of Television Content Type and Obesity in Children, researchers followed children from 1997 to 2002 to observe how different types of television might affect obesity rates. They found "television advertising, rather than viewing per se, is associated with obesity." During the five-year period, children saw an increasing amount of commercials and a decreasing amount of non-commercial programming. (Read more)