Active child tvMothers who restrict children’s TV and computer time could reduce the chances of them being overweight, according to the results of a new study.

According to the World Health Organization, 3 out of 10 children aged 2-5 are obese in the UK and high-fat, high-sugar foods aren’t only to blame with significant amounts of sedentary behaviour and lack of exercise also key factors

Researchers from the Oregon Social Learning Center in Eugene, analysed data from 112 mothers, 103 fathers and their 213 children between 1998 and 2012. This included questionaires and physical examinations.

The children of mothers who closely monitored their screen time tend to weigh less at the age of seven and gain less weight over the next few years. This could be because such parents may be encouraging them to be more active instead of watching TV. At the same time, they are not exposed to as many food adverts. However, monitoring by fathers was not tied to any weight changes, probably because they were not the primary carer.

Stacey Tiberio, the study's lead author said: “At this point we can say there is an association but we cannot say exactly why.”

Health experts have long suggested keeping TVs and other electronic media devices out of children’s bedrooms.

Further reading: NICE calls for support for families battling obesity