Is it okay for my children to eat snacks or dinner while watching TV?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,807
    National Research Center for Women and Families president Dr. Diana Zuckerman discusses the importance of not eating while watching television.

    Host: Is it okay for my children to eat snacks or dinner while watching TV?

    Dr. Diana Zuckerman: The reason why it's almost always a bad idea to eat and watch TV at the same time is because you are reinforcing two behaviors that you would probably rather reduce. If a child is watching TV while eating, then every time they eat they are going to want to watch TV instead of talk to their parents or something else and if you have children who are eating while watching TV then every time they turn the TV on they are going to think, "Oh, I am hungry. What can I go get to eat?

    " So you are going to end up with children who are probably overweight because they are eating too much at a time and also, where TV has become very reinforced by food because food is enjoyable and TV is enjoyable and so you have these two behaviors that are reinforcing each other. So, it's just much better to have everybody in the family eating in the kitchen or the dining room. You will eat less, much less likely to get overweight; you won't develop such bad habits of snacking all the time and to also keep TV to a reasonable amount of time per day. Don't let it get so big for your kids that they are spending so much time in front of the screen whether it's a computer screen or a TV screen that they are not spending time with their friends, they are not spending time with their family and they are not really concentrating on homework and other things.