"It's called the 'nag factor,'" said Lisa Chamberlain, MD, MPH, Packard Children's researcher and clinical instructor at the medical school, "and it's very effective."
What's more, the correlation between increased screen time and subsequent requests for toys and junk food held true for over a period of 20 months.
Chamberlain warns that, if left unchecked, increasing amounts of screen time for children could foster a rise in obesity and consumerism that will reverberate for decades. She is the lead author of the research, which will be published in the April issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
"We're proving what marketers have known for years," said Chamberlain. "Kids have discretionary income of their own, and they also have a lot of influence of how their parents spend the family's money."
Chamberlain collaborated with pediatric researcher Thomas Robinson, MD, for the study. Robinson is well-known for his investigations into the links between television viewing and obesity, violence and test scores. He is also the director of Packard Children's Center for Healthy Weight, and an associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford's School of Medicine.
The researchers surveyed more than 800 ethnically and socio-demographically diverse third-graders at 12 elementary schools in California. They asked the children how much time they spent watching television or watching movies or videos on a VCR. The study also included pla
Contact: Krista Conger
Stanford University Medical Center