CNS News reported this week on a new National Institutes of Health grant made to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, to study the effect that watching movies has on children’s waistlines.
“‘Children’s movies are an important source of cultural messages to children about healthy and unhealthy attitudes and behaviors,’ the grant said.” In an emailed response to queries about the study, project leader Professor Eliana Perrin wrote, “Our study shows children’s entertainment often presents sedentary activity, overeating, and eating unhealthy foods (the key factors contributing to obesity) in a positive light. ... Our study is designed to help sharpen strategies to prevent obesity and bullying by demonstrating how and to what degree children’s movies are reinforcing harmful behavior.”
Some of the “key factors” that this new study will not cover? The two-parent family and stay-at-home mothers top the list, but even the number of brothers and sisters a child has seems to make a difference in promoting healthy eating habits. Perhaps the NIH should divert some of its funding to studying how we might instead encourage family growth.