The link is here, and here’s why this is important.

Television viewing and physical inactivity increase the risk of obesity among youngsters. By using a fancy pedometer, 2 studies showed how to increase physical activity while achieving a positive effect on diet and body mass index (BMI).

First, the details.

  • 30 overweight or obese 8- to 12-year-old children
  • About half wore accelerometers every day for 8 weeks and attended biweekly meetings to download the devices — the treatment group.
  • Access to television (VCR/DVD) was regulated by their scores on the accelerometer, which converted to tokens that were used to turn on the TV.
  • The rest wore an accelerometer, but it wasn’t used to control TV time — the control group.
  • An accelerometer is an instrument used to measure acceleration — a fancy pedometer

And the results in the treatment group vs controls.

  • Significantly greater increases in daily physical activity and minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity
  • Less TV watched
  • More favorable changes in body composition, dietary fat intake, and energy intake from snacks
  • Less sedentary behavior was directly related to lower BMI, fat intake, snack intake, and snack intake while watching television.

These results confirm an earlier study that used the same technique. Interestingly, the children in that study achieved the benefits while maintaining their TV time!

The bottom line?
The researchers concluded, “Providing feedback of physical activity in combination with reinforcing physical activity with sedentary behavior is a simple method of modifying the home environment that may play an important role in treating and preventing child obesity.”

I say parents and children could achieve the same benefits by translating pedometer readings to TV time. Hence, the AARP link above.

3/30/07 16:18 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.