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20.19: Bedroom TV and Hispanic Children

Skills to Develop

  • Study of overweight and obesity in Hispanic children

Research conducted by

Du Feng, Debra B. Reed, M. Christina Esperat, and Mitsue Uchida

Case study prepared by

Robert F. Houser, Alyssa Koomas, and Georgette Baghdady


The prevalence of overweight and obesity in children in the U.S. is a growing public health concern that disproportionately affects Hispanic youth.  As noted by the authors, in \(2005\) to \(2006\), \(15.5\%\) of all U.S. children aged \(2\) to \(19\) years were overweight or obese, compared with \(23.2\%\) for boys and \(18.5\%\) for girls among Mexican-Americans in this age group.  Past research has revealed diverse environmental and behavioral factors that may contribute to this disparity.  For example, studies have shown that Hispanic children watch more television than white children.

This study examined TV viewing among \(314\) Hispanic children aged \(5\) to \(9\) years in West Texas and the possible effects of having a TV in the child’s bedroom.  Children’s weights and heights were measured, body mass indexes (BMI) calculated, and sex- and age-adjusted BMI percentiles obtained.  The \(2000\) CDC Growth Charts were used to assess whether or not a child was overweight or at risk for becoming overweight.  Their parents completed a family survey assessing demographics, acculturation, parental support of physical activity, dietary practices, the presence of a TV in the participating child’s bedroom, and the child’s TV/DVD viewing time.

Questions to Answer

Do children with a TV in their bedroom spend more time watching TV/DVDs on a daily basis than children without a TV in their bedroom?  Do children with a TV in their bedroom have less support from their parents for physical activity than children without a TV in their bedroom?  What might account for missing responses to survey questions?

Design Issues 

Except for BMI, the data for all of the study variables were “self-reported” by the parents.  The study used a cross-sectional design, which cannot be relied upon to provide conclusive evidence of causal relationships.

Descriptions of Variables

Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): Description of Variables

TVIB, No TVIB Presence or absence of a TV in the participating child’s bedroom
Daily TV/DVD time Average number of hours the child spent watching TV and DVDs per day
Parental support of physical activity   Scale score calculated as the average of parent’s responses to 8 survey items assessing the parent’s support of physical activity for the child.  Items rated on 4-point Likert scale (0 = never, 3 = always).  Research has shown a significant positive relationship between parental support of physical activity and children’s physical activity level  
Daily fruit and vegetable intake Average number of cups of fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen, dried, canned, and 100% juice) consumed by the child per day  
Daily sweetened beverages Average number of ounces of soda, fruit drink, sports drink, tea, and lemonade consumed by the child per day  


  • Feng, D., Reed, D. B., Esperat, M. C., Uchida, M. (2011). Effects of TV in the bedroom on young Hispanic children. American Journal of Health Promotion, 25, 310-318.


  • Online Statistics Education: A Multimedia Course of Study ( Project Leader: David M. Lane, Rice University.