Are Your Kids’ Snacks Turning Nasty From Too Much TV Time?

It’s no secret that excessive television viewing can have negative effects on children, particularly regarding their health. But, did you know that it doesn’t just warp their mind, but also their gut health? A study conducted in the United States has shown that kids who watch too much television are more likely to make poor food choices, leading to an unhealthy diet and possible future health complications. Let’s dig a bit deeper into this alarming connection and discuss what parents can do to help their kids make better choices.

The Study: TV and Unhealthy Eating Habits

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development carried out a national survey that focused on the eating habits of students in the 5th to 10th grades. The results showed a clear link between excessive television viewing and unhealthy food choices. As the amount of television watched by the students increased, so too did the negative impact on their diets.

The researchers concluded that the time spent watching television is associated with a higher likelihood of consuming candy, sugar-filled soda, and fast food, as well as skipping breakfast at least once a week. On the other hand, those who watched less TV had a higher chance of consuming fruits and vegetables daily, which is an essential component of a well-balanced and healthy diet.

The Negative Health Effects of Excessive TV Viewing

It is evident that the study conducted showed a strong link between excessive television watching and unhealthy eating habits in children. But, what exactly does this lead to in terms of their overall health?

Excessive TV viewing can cause a domino effect of negative health consequences for kids. As they consume more unhealthy foods, they’re more prone to childhood obesity, which can lead to additional severe health issues, including diabetes, high cholesterol, and even heart disease.

Aside from the physical health concerns, their mental health may also be compromised. Unhealthy eating habits can negatively impact kids’ concentration, mood, and academic performance, which can have long-lasting effects on their overall well-being, success, and happiness.

Furthermore, these unhealthy eating habits developed during childhood can carry over into adulthood. This creates a vicious cycle where individuals may struggle with weight and health issues throughout their entire lives if they don’t make a conscious effort to make better food choices.

What Parents Can Do

As a parent or caregiver, it’s crucial to take an active role in your child’s eating habits and television viewing. Here are a few practical steps that you can take to help support your child in making healthier choices:

  1. Limit TV time: Set boundaries on the amount of time your child spends in front of the television each day. You can replace TV time with other recreational or educational activities like playing outside, engaging in sports, or reading.

  2. Provide healthier snack options: Make sure that healthy snacks, especially fruits and vegetables, are easily accessible and available at all times. Encourage your child to choose these options over unhealthy alternatives like candy and sugary drinks.

  3. Encourage family meals: Eating together as a family can help promote healthier eating habits and limit distractions such as television, which might lead to mindless eating.

  4. Educate about nutrition: Teach your child about the importance of a balanced diet and the negative effects of consuming unhealthy foods regularly. Help them understand how their eating choices can directly impact their health and well-being.

  5. Be a role model: Kids often follow by example, so make sure you are practicing healthy eating habits yourself. This can positively influence their decisions and lead them to make better choices as well.


The connection between TV viewing and unhealthy eating habits in children is a cause for concern for parents and caregivers. By taking an active role in limiting TV time, providing healthier food options, and educating children about the importance of a balanced diet, you can help prevent the negative health consequences associated with excessive television consumption.

Remember, it’s essential to foster more constructive, engaging, and mindful activities outside of television to help kids develop their creativity, social skills, and intellect. By doing so, you’re not only helping them maintain good physical health but also setting them up for success and happiness in life.