Preschooler’s media exposure and dietary habits: The primacy of television and the limits of parental mediation

Janet M Liechty, Kristen Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Abstract

A potential barrier to healthy eating in childhood is media marketing of obesogenic foods, yet little research has linked young children's media and dietary habits. This study reports data from 423 parents and 354 2- to 4-year-old children in the Midwestern United States, from the first wave of a 3-wave prospective panel study. Variables included family demographics, child media exposure, parent mediation of TV, child dietary habits, and child BMI. Controlling demographics and parent BMI, media exposure and parental mediation were unrelated to child BMI. However, TV viewing predicted increased intake of high-energy, low-nutrient (HELN) foods and decreased intake of fruits and vegetables. Restrictive parental mediation reduced some of these relationships, whereas coviewing and instructive mediation increased others. TV viewing continued to predict intake of some HELN foods for the 322 children whose parents limited their daily screen media exposure to 2 hours. Discussion focuses on future research directions and policy implications.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17482798.2011.633402
Pages (from-to)18-36
JournalJournal of Children and Media
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

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