Objective: To examine the association between television/video (TV) viewing and markers of diet quality among 3-year-old children.
Methods: We studied 613 boys and 590 girls, age 3 years old, who were participants in Project Viva. Each mother reported the number of hours her child watched TV on an average weekday and weekend day in the past month, from which we calculated a weighted mean. The main outcomes were intakes of selected foods and nutrients from a validated food frequency questionnaire. In linear regression models we adjusted for mother's sociodemographic information, parental body mass index (BMI), and child's age, sex, race/ethnicity, BMI z-score, sleep duration, and breast feeding duration.
Results: Mean (standard deviation, SD) age of subjects was 3.2 (0.2) years; 372 children (31%) were non-white and 151 (13%) had a household income < $40 000, and 330 mothers (28%) had completed less than a college degree. Mean (SD) TV viewing was 1.7 (1.0) hours per day. For each 1-hour increment of TV viewing per day, we found higher intakes of sugar-sweetened beverages (0.06 servings/day [95% CI 0.03, 0.10]), fast food (0.32 servings/month [95% CI 0.16, 0.49]), red and processed meat (0.06 servings/day [95% CI 0.02, 0.09]), total energy intake (48.7 kcal/day [95% CI 18.7, 78.6]), and percent energy intake from trans fat (0.05 [95% CI 0.03, 0.07]). We found lower intakes of fruit and vegetables (-0.18 servings/day [95% CI -0.32, -0.05]), calcium (-24.6 mg/day [95% CI -41.0, -8.1]), and dietary fiber (-0.44 g/day [95% CI -0.65, -0.22]).
Conclusions: Among 3-year-olds, more TV viewing is associated with adverse dietary practices. Interventions to reduce TV viewing in this age group may lead to improved diet quality.