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Posts Tagged ‘Screen TIme’

As the parent of a one-year old, I sometimes feel like my husband and I find ourselves playing a game of “hide the smart phone” with our son. We try to keep our phones out of sight because the moment he sees one, he grabs for it and wants to play with it. I’m sure many parents of young children can relate!

Earlier this year, a colleague of mine sent me an article titled “Is Secondhand Screen Time the New Secondhand Smoking?” This article certainly has an eye-catching title that may seem extreme to some. While I think this article has some valid points, I want to acknowledge up front that screens are not inherently evil, and the author of this article is not saying that a parent’s use of a screen is the same as a parent’s choice to smoke. Unlike smoking, screens have many useful and necessary functions in our world today, and it would be unreasonable to stop using them altogether.

What is concerning about parents’ screen use is that – like smoking – screens can be addictive.

When parents “read the news, check email, text friends or scan social media parenting groups… kids, even babies, notice these habits. They see parents reach again and again for a seemingly magical object that glints and flashes, makes sounds and shows moving images. Who wouldn’t want such a wonderful plaything? Trouble is, if the desire for a phone builds in infancy, it can become second nature.”

As I watch my own son grow and develop, I am becoming ever more aware of how I am always on stage for him. He is constantly watching what I say and do and learning how to interact with the world through me. Consequently, I have become much more mindful about how, when and where I use my smart phone. I have made a conscious effort to refrain from checking email or social media at times when I could be interacting or engaging in unplugged playtime with him, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. This effort has necessitated a shift in my media use habits. I check apps less often and only during certain times of the day. To help lessen the temptation to pick up my phone while with my son, I also turned off all non-essential notifications such as those for email and social media. Currently, the only notifications I receive are for phone calls and text messages.

Still, there are times when my husband or I need to use a smart phone in the presence of our son. In these occasions, some experts suggest narrating your actions to your children, whether you are ordering diapers or checking the weather. When parents take time to explain how they use their screens, and when they mindfully consider their use of screens in the first place, they help children learn to interact with technology in a healthy way.

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Retired Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Erie County

Sources:

American Academy of Pediatrics (2018). Children and Media Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Children-and-Media-Tips.aspx

Caron, C. (2019). Ask NYT Parenting: I use my phone for everything. Is that harming my kids? https://parenting.nytimes.com/culture/phones-parents

Powers-Barker, P. (2019). Congratulations! You are a role model. Live Smart Ohio. https://livesmartohio.osu.edu/family-and-relationships/powers-barker-1osu-edu/congratulations-you-are-a-role-model/ Renstrom, J. (2020).

Is secondhand screen time the new secondhand smoking? The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/is-secondhand-screen-time-the-new-secondhand-smoking-129500

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a young child using a laptop

Raising children in this ever-changing digital world can be a challenge. Some articles warn of the dangers of screens, while others urge us to help our kids keep up with technology. Caregivers are often actively encouraging these forms of passive entertainment, and electronic devices are always available as babysitters. Some factors for a child’s excess screen time could be the need for the caregiver to address everyday household activities or an exhausted caretaker who simply needs a break.

Too much screen time can have negative effects on children regardless of the device. So before turning that device over to your child, there are some things that you should consider first. According to Mayo Clinic, too much screen time can have unhealthy effects as a child grows and has been linked to:

  • Obesity
  • Irregular sleep and shorter duration of sleep
  • Behavioral problems
  • Loss of social skills
  • Attention deficit
  • Cognitive delays
  • Impaired learning
  • Violence

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages media use by children younger than 24 months. Video chatting with family and friends is an exception which is considered quality time interacting with others. Children between ages 2 and 5 should be limited to one hour or less a day of quality and educational programming. The following is suggested to ensure safe and quality screen time:

  • Do your homework: Research games and apps before getting them for your child. Search for games and apps that educators and doctors suggest. Organizations such as “Common Sense Media” can help you determine what is appropriate.
  • Always be present: Be with young children during screen time and interact with them.  Discuss what you are watching with your child.  
  • Schedule plenty of non-screen playtime:  Family meals and bedtimes are important times to put the screens away and interact with your child. Preschoolers learn by physically interacting with others and their surroundings.
  • Discourage screen use in your child’s bedroom or at bedtime: Screen use in the hour before bed can stimulate your child. The blue light from televisions, computers, tablets and phones might suppress melatonin levels and delay sleepiness.

You can help ensure a safe and healthy digital atmosphere by developing household rules. As your child ages, you will need to review and adjust the rules by deciding how much media your child should use each day and what is age appropriate.

a young child using a smart phone

As caregivers of young children, it can be hard to maintain a healthy family balance and keep up in these demanding times. Even elementary school-aged children have been completing school work online and participating in Zoom sessions, which has most likely increased their usual screen time. Now that the school year is ending, this could be a great transition opportunity to set device and screen time rules for the summer months.

Many of us can fall short when it comes sticking to device rules. Managing the use of screens and media will be an ongoing challenge as your child grows. You might have a rough day, week or even month, and it’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Today is always a good day to try again.

Written by: Emily Marrison, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Coshocton County and Alonna Hoffman, Agriculture and Natural Resources and 4-H Youth Development Program Assistant, OSU Extension Coshocton County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County

Sources:

Mayo Clinic. (June 20, 2019) Screen time and children: How to guide your child. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/screen-time/art-20047952

American Academy of Pediatrics. (November 2016) Media and young minds. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/138/5/e20162591

Common Sense Media https://www.commonsense.org/

Photo credits

https://pixabay.com/photos/boy-mobile-phone-addiction-phone-3360415/

https://pixabay.com/photos/baby-boy-child-childhood-computer-84626/

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A person using a laptop with a smart phone within reach

If there has ever been a time when we have realized the communication opportunities and flexibility that online platforms can provide, it is now. Many of us who are working from home are now using technology in ways we would never have dreamed of just a few short weeks ago. For some, telehealth visits have replaced traveling to see doctors and specialists in their offices. And many have been keeping in touch with friends and family using mobile phones or tablets. 

But even with all the productivity while staying at home, you have most likely experienced technology overload as well. Each year during the first week of May, the Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood promotes “Screen Free Week.” In response to our current situation, this year they have instead changed to “Screen Free Saturdays,” encouraging families to rest their eyes and minds from the screens of televisions, tablets, laptops and phones. 

Some call it unplugging. Some refer to it as digital detoxing. Whatever the name, it is a purposeful act of refraining from or limiting our exposure to digital technology for a specified time. Dr. Scott Becker is the director of the Michigan State University Counseling Center and specializes in researching the impact of digital technology on mental health. His research has found that the overuse of digital technology can impact sleep, memory, attention span, capacity to learn, stress, identity and relationships.

The overuse of digital technology can impact sleep, memory, attention span, capacity to learn, identity, intimacy and empathy.

Here are some practical ways to be intentional and mindful about your use of electronic devices this season:

  • Take some time to reflect on the ways you use technology in your daily life. What kinds of habits do you have now that you didn’t three months ago?
  • If you are on a screen often during your workday, follow the 20-20-20 rule from the American Optometric Association. Every 20 minutes look at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds to prevent eye strain. You could set a timer or there are apps like “Break Time” on Google Chrome that will pop up on your screen to remind you take a break. 
  • When you are indoors, mimic natural outdoor conditions by exposing yourself to bright light during the day, dim light in the evening and darkness at night. Our bodies are designed to respond to light in this way. Studies show you could improve your sleep by staying off electronic devices close to bedtime. And check out the settings on your phone or tablet to automatically adjust to a warmer color at night.
  • Increase productivity and focus by managing your phone use and email response. While at work, turn off email notifications and establish certain times to check and respond to email rather than immediately responding to that urgent ding. Designate times to check your phone, especially while working on important projects.
  • Set times in the evening or on the weekend that you could designate as screen-free, choosing to spend time outside, with family, or engaged in a hobby instead of a screen.

Here’s wishing you Digital Wellness this coming week!

Written by: Emily Marrison, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Coshocton County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

Sources:

Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood https://commercialfreechildhood.org/

Stateside Podcast (2017). Just about everyone is addicted to screens. What can we do about it? https://www.michiganradio.org/post/just-about-everyone-addicted-screens-what-can-we-do-about-it

American Optometric Association (2016) Save your vision month: Counsel patients about digital eye strain in the workplace. https://www.aoa.org/news/clinical-eye-care/save-your-vision-month-counsel-patients-about-digital-eye-strain-in-the-workplace-

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2012). Light from self-luminous tablet computers can affect evening melatonin, delaying sleep. https://news.rpi.edu/luwakkey/3074

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small child staring at a smartphone

As a mom with three little children, I find it easy at times to use my smartphone or tablet to help entertain my children while I am trying to accomplish specific tasks. It is very convenient when we are standing in line somewhere or I need to distract them for a few minutes.  However, I know that I should have screen time limits for my kids. How much is too much?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends preschoolers use screens no more than 1 to 2 hours a day. In today’s tech world that includes watching TV, working on a computer, playing video games, or streaming videos, games, apps or websites on smartphones or tablets.

Screen Time Effect

  • Harder to fall asleep at night
  • Raise risk for attention problems, anxiety and depression
  • Raise risk for gaining too much weight

Not all screen time is bad. Good screen time would be playing an interactive educational game together or watching educational programming where you are talking and reflecting with your child on what you are watching.

General Tips

  • Sit with your child during screen time and interact with them
  • Do your research before you allow them to play a game or download an app
  • Have plenty of non-screen time scheduled throughout the day
  • Keep screens out of your child’s bedroom especially at bedtime

Screen time rules will be similar to other parenting rules you might have – set a good example, establish limits, and talk with your child about it.

As your child grows and technology changes you will need to change your approach and rules in regards to screen time, as a one-size-fits-all approach will not work well.

Sources:

Kids Health. (2019). Screen Time Guidelines for Preschoolers. Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/screentime-preschool.html

MedlinePlus. (2019, May 17). Screen time and children. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000355.htm

Thompson, D. (2019, January 28). Can Too Much Screen Time Hinder Child Development? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/parenting/raising-fit-kids/recharge/features/limiting-tv-preschoolers#1

Author: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Reviewer: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

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teen and technology

If you have a teenager in your home, they are probably celebrating the start of their summer break.  This can mean they stay up later, sleep in longer and relax more.  Like other working parents, you may be dreading the extra-long gaming sessions and screen time that your kiddos may be planning over the summer.

Here are a few tips from media experts on how to tune down the technology and keep the peace in your house for the next 12 weeks and beyond:

  1. Dr. Jenny Radesky, the lead author of the most recent update of the Guidelines on Media and Children from the American Academy of Pediatrics, has a “no media on weekdays” rule. Dr. Radesky states “I try to help my older son be aware of the way he reacts to video games or how to interpret information we find online.” For example, she tries to explain how he is being manipulated by games that ask him to make purchases while playing.
  2. Lauren Hale, a sleep researcher at Stony Brook University in New York, suggests limiting the use of devices at least one hour before bedtime. This gives your brain time to “turn off” and relax, which will promote better sleep. According to Hale, “when kids watch or use screens at night, bedtime gets delayed.” Additionally, “when it takes longer to fall asleep, sleep quality is reduced and total sleep time is decreased.”
  3. Dr. Tom Warshawski, a pediatrician in Canada and founder of the Childhood Obesity Foundation, puts an emphasis on limiting technology by promoting the  5- 2- 1- 0 formula. That means each day includes: five servings of fruits and vegetables, no more than two hours of screen time, one hour of physical activity, and no sugary beverages.

Other screen time tips include:

  • Set firm limits on usage by making a technology schedule. Allow your teen to help with the details so everyone can agree.
  • Limit the number of devices available to your teen while you are working.
  • Limit the amount of free time that technology can eat up by signing them up for camps, volunteering, or even working.
  • Practice safe technology use by implementing rules such as remaining anonymous, using nicknames rather than your real name, reporting messaging or chats that make you feel uncomfortable to an adult, and protecting your passwords.
  • Turn off all screens during family meals
  • Turn off all screens at bedtime, keep devices with screens out of your teen’s bedroom after bedtime, and don’t allow a TV in your teen’s bedroom.
  • Research video and computer games before letting your teen get them. Check ratings from the Entertainment Software Rating Board.  Ratings can run from EC (meaning “early childhood”) to AO (meaning “adults only”). Teens probably should be limited to games rated T (for “teens”) or younger.

References

American Academy of Pediatrics (2018). Children and Media Tips. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Children-and-Media-Tips.aspx

Ben-Joseph, E.P. (2016). Screen Time Guidelines for Big Kids. Kids Health from Nemours. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/screentime-bigkids.html?ref=search

Common Sense Media. Screen Time. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/screen-time

Child Obesity Foundation. What Every Family Can Do: The 5-2-1-0 Formula. https://childhoodobesityfoundation.ca/families/simple-steps-families-can-take/#tab-id-2

Kamenetz, A. (2018). What Families Need to Know About Screen Time This Summer. NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/07/09/625387830/what-families-need-to-know-about-screen-time-this-summer

Written by: Heather Reister, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Butler County

Reviewed by: Bridget Britton, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Carroll County

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You have probably heard about the increasing number of children who are overweight and the efforts to decrease the trend. 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! is a national childhood obesity prevention program which focuses on policy and environmental changes to increase physical activity and healthy eating for children through age 18. Let’s Go! works with youth and families through a collaboration of six sectors including schools, early childhood, communities, workplace, out of school and healthcare.  While the initiative originated in Maine through the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, communities across the nation have implemented the program.

 

The goal of the campaign is to change unhealthy behaviors and adopt healthier habits. While the primary target is youth, people of all ages can benefit from the guidelines.  Strategies are evidence-based and the messages are consistent and simple:

  • Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day
  • Spend 2 hours or less of screen time – television, smart phone, video games, etc.
  • Enjoy 1 hour or more of physical activity each day
  • Consume 0 sweetened beverages per day, such as soda, juice and energy drinks

5-2-1-0 graphic

Graphic courtesy of Keys for Healthy Kids

Collaboration is key to the success of the program in any state. Teams of nutrition, health and education specialists develop trainings to provide to partners within the community setting.  Some of the successful strategies that have worked for Maine and Florida include:

Engage community partners to support healthy eating and active living

Prohibit food being used as a reward

Implement staff wellness programs that incorporate physical activity and healthy eating

Provide water rather than sugar-sweetened beverages

Limit unhealthy snacks provided for celebrations, offering healthy snacks instead

In 2015, more than 350,000 children and their families living in Maine were reached through 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! Future opportunities of the program may be extended to parents in the home environment and disabled children.

 

Sources: The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! http://www.letsgo.org/

Florida Health, Palm Beach County, http://www.5210letsgo.com/

Jennifer Even, Family and Consumer Sciences/EFNEP, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County

Reviewer:  Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

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screen addiction
Has technology, or more specifically use of technology, become a concern for you? According to a recent study, most people spend five hours on their computer daily. They also spend four hours watching television and just over two hours on their smartphones or tablets. Those multiple viewings add up to over 11 hours spent every day in front of a screen.
Nearly 50% of the time spent on these electronic devices is dedicated to entertainment, such as listening to music or streaming television shows. The average American household has 2.9 televisions. Most of us have at least one computer and are connected to the internet. We go online to shop, pay bills, check the weather, watch videos, play games, download music, read, and connect.
In addition, Americans send more than a billion text messages each day. Last year, the average American cell phone user either sent or received nearly 400 texts per month.
Once a tranquil place to reflect and to look through books at the library, it’s most popular service is now the internet connection. The sound in the library is now the tapping of computer keys.
Do you easily succumb to a beep of a newly arrive email or text? If you do, then you are part of the increasing phenomenons in history – screen addiction.
Calculating Your Personal Usage
If you are sincere about reducing screen time, you need to take an honest look at your personal usage.
1. Count the number of screens in your life. Calculate how much time you spend on each screen. How was that time spent? Was a large percentage used for what you consider “important” (for example, paying bills), or “leisure” (just surfing the web)?
2. How many texts do you send and receive per day? How many of those texts make a valuable contribution to your life?
3. How much television do you watch?
4. How many times do you check your email?
Reducing the Addiction
On the weekend, consider implementing a day at home to unplug all gadgets. Imagine the increase in conversations and outdoor activities. Put a limit on your recreational internet use. Limit the number of texts you send each day. Check your email only once per hour or once a night. Enjoy your meals screen free.
Not only is spending too much time in front of a screen unhealthy, it also means we often miss out on the very real world that’s around us. Recently, a friend shared that her children have begun texting each other inside the house. If this is not the value system you envisioned for your family, start today to set boundaries to limit the amount of time everyone spends in front of a screen.
References:
http://www.psychguides.com/…/computerinternet-addiction-symptoms-causes-.

Written by: Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD,LD. Ohio State University Extension Educator, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.edu
Reviewed by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu

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We know that sitting in front of a computer, laptop, tablet, video game or TV robs our children (and us!) of Playgroundtime that could be spent moving, playing or creating. It contributes to the obesity rate and encourages all of us to be “couch potatoes”.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids ages 8-18 now spend, on average, a whopping 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day, 4.5 of which are spent watching TV. Over a year, that adds up to 114 full days watching a screen for fun.
Think about that – children are spending almost as much time in front of a screen as some of us spend during our work day. Wow! The 11-14 age group spends the most time in front of screens with their total reaching 9 hours per day! Five of these hours are spent watching television. Visit this website for a great infographic which shares information about each age group and their screen time averages. http://makinghealtheasier.org/getmoving

Get outside, have fun and move! How can we encourage our youth to become more active this summer?

• Limit total screen time to 1-2 hours per day.
• Involve your child in planning their day – ask them what activities they like to do and make some suggestions.
• Provide creative activities for your child to enjoy – think pens, paper, paint, modeling clay, or art and craft projects.
• Send the kids outside to play – try balls, bikes, skateboards, or sidewalk chalk.
• Resurrect some of the games you played as a kid – go outside with them and PLAY! Try soft ball, kick the can, tag, red rover, or hide-and-seek.
• Some areas offer free or low cost day camps – soccer, gymnastics, etc. – check out what is available in your area.

According to the Let’s Move website, spend time this summer encouraging your child to be active by exploring, riding, swimming or playing outside. Here are some ideas for each area:

Let’s Explore!
As a family explore parks in your area. You may find a new walking trail, play ground or nature preserve. Plan a walk around the block in your neighborhood in the evening. Be safe but encourage your child to explore their surroundings. Visit http://www.nwf.org/NatureFind.aspx to locate a new area to explore.
Let’s Ride!
Pump up those bike tires, grab your bike helmet and check those brakes. Enjoy a family bike ride either in your neighborhood or on a bike path. Many bike paths are available so explore a new one today. Find one of the many rails-to-trails for a smooth bike ride through nature.
Let’s Swim!
Find a safe spot to swim. Lifeguards save lives so select a pool or swimming area carefully. Remember to wear sun protection while in the sun.

Soccer
Let’s Play!
Look for a playground in your area. Perhaps you can plan a day to visit a play area near your home. Pack a picnic lunch and play! For play spaces near you, visit http://mapofplay.kaboom.org/playspaces/new

Remember to have fun this summer and encourage your family (kids and adults) to get outside and play! Get creative and reduce that screen time to one hour per day.

Sources: http://makinghealtheasier.org/getmoving
http://Healthyohioprogram.org
http://mapofplay.kaboom.org/playspaces/new
http://www.nwf.org/NatureFind.aspx
http://www.letsmove.gov

Author: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA rabe.9@osu.edu

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Do you eat while watching TV? Or in front of your computer?  Or while working? Recent research has indicated that distracted eatindistractedg can lead to increased calorie consumption. Several of these studies compared two groups of eaters – those who ate in front of the TV and those who didn’t. The basic findings were that those who ate while watching TV tended to consume more calories at that meal; and those who paid attention to their meal tended to consume fewer calories at a later meal.

There is a mind body connection when it comes to eating. Your awareness of the food you’re consuming is one of the cues your body uses to decide how soon to be hungry again. If you are oblivious to what you’re eating, it is not only easier to over-consume at that meal, you also tend to get hungry again sooner because you don’t recall having eaten.

imagesThe opposite of distracted eating is to be mindful or attentive to what you are eating. Unplug the computer, TV, etc. and eat at the table. Take time to set the table with silverware and plates, maybe even candles! Eat at a slower pace. In fact, you can try to eat a normal-sized meal taking at least 20 minutes, since that is the time it takes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is full.

To slow down:

  • Eat with your non-dominant hand.
  • Put your fork down between bites.
  • Take a sip of water between each bite.
  • Notice the color, smell, texture, temperature and taste of your food.
  • Take small bites and savor them.
  • Put away cell phones and other electronic devices.
  • Have pleasant conversations with family, friends or co-workers during your meal.

The benefits of attentive eating are not only consuming fewer calories, but also increasing the likelihood that you’ll eat healthier food and enjoy it more!

Writer: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County.

Reviewers:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County and Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County

Sources:

Harvard Medical School, Harvard Health Publications, LeWine. “Distracted Eating May Add to Weight Gain.” Retrieved 9-16-2013 from: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/distracted-eating-may-add-to-weight-gain-201303296037

Daily Mail, Health Home, Innes. “Why eating in front of the TV makes you fat: You consume 25% more LATER in the day without realizing.” Retrieved 9-15-2013 from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2295303/Why-eating-TV-makes-fat-You-consume-25-LATER-day-realising.html#ixzz2ehZG1Mu8

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