Body size, physical activity, and exposure to television in preschoolers
Objective: To investigate relationships between preschool-aged children’s body size and physical activity, exposure to television (TV), and parental body size.
Design and Subjects: Cross-sectional study of 80 children (age: 2 - 5 y, 29% overweight or obese), 73 mothers (37% overweight or obese), and 22 fathers (72% overweight or obese), residing in Auckland, New Zealand, between October 2006 and July 2007.
Measurements: Body size was determined using waist circumference and body mass index (BMI). Child exposure to TV was assessed by questionnaire (number of household TV sets, presence of TV in the child’s bedroom, mean TV/movie watching hours on weekdays and weekend days), and physical activity by 7 days of accelerometry.
Results: Compared with children of normal weight/underweight mothers (classified by BMI status), the age-adjusted odds of a child being overweight/obese if their mother was overweight/obese/otherwise was 2.46 (95% CI 1.11, 5.48, P = 0.03). No other associates of child body size were identified.
Conclusion: Contributors to overweight and obesity in preschool aged children are complex and likely to exist in multiple facets of young children’s lives. More detailed measurement of TV watching and other sedentary behaviours is needed. An ecological approach to identifying risk factors for increased body size in preschoolers is required.