Children ‘affected by maternal mealtime habits’

7 May 2014

Pregnant women who watch television while eating are more likely to do the same when feeding their baby, leading to childhood obesity, according to a new study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting. 

Researchers claim watching TV during mealtimes is associated with a poor quality diet and causes mothers to pay less attention to whether their children are full.

The team questioned 189 women during their third trimester of pregnancy over how often they watched TV when eating. Three months after the birth of their child, the participants were asked how often they fed their infant while doing the same thing.

According to the results, 71 per cent of pregnant women reported at least some mealtime viewing and 33 per cent admitted their three-month old baby was exposed to television while being fed. 

Women who watched TV while eating during pregnancy were five times more likely to expose their infants to television while feeding compared to those who did not report the same behaviour. 

Mary Jo Messito, lead author of the study, said: "Reinforcing healthy media habits during pregnancy may help reduce infants' mealtime media exposure and impact long-term media habits in children.

"Reduction of mealtime TV viewing during pregnancy could be an important component in early childhood obesity prevention programmes."

Posted by Jeanette Royston

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

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