The purpose of this study is to determine if limiting television (TV) and computer time will
result in a stabilization or smaller increase in body mass index (BMI), lower energy intake,
and increased physical activity in 4-7 year old obese (>85th BMI percentile) children over
There is a positive correlation between obesity and television watching in adults and
children. And, television watching, controlling for current obesity, is a predictor of
future obesity. Almost half of all children watch 3 or more hours of television each day.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children watch no more than 1-2 hours
Families will be randomized to one of two conditions. Half the families will be taught to
use the TV Allowance to reduce their child's TV and computer use by one-half over a six
month period and the other half will use the device to monitor TV watching (control group).
This study uses TV Allowance units to monitor home television watching, video game playing,
and computer use. The TV Allowance can also be used to limit the amount of TV and computer
use by programming it to allow a specific number of hours for each family member. Heights,
weights, food intake, and physical activity will be measured at baseline and every six
months. The purpose of this study is to determine if limiting television and computer time
will result in a stabilization or smaller increase in BMI, lower energy intake, and
increased physical activity in 4-7 year old obese (>85th BMI percentile) children over two
- Greater than the 85th BMI percentile
- Minimum of 15 hours of TV watching, computer use, and video game playing per week
- No medical conditions that may affect the child's ability to safely participate in
Leonard H. Epstein, Ph.D.
State Universtiy of New York at Buffalo, Department of Pediatrics