Original Article

International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 67-75

Young children’s screen habits are associated with consumption of sweetened beverages independently of parental norms

  • Steingerdur OlafsdottirAffiliated withDepartment of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg Email author 
  • , Gabriele EibenAffiliated withDepartment of Public Health and Community Medicine, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
  • , Hillevi PrellAffiliated withDepartment of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg
  • , Sabrina HenseAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiological Methods and Etiologic Research, Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology, BIPS GmbH
  • , Lauren LissnerAffiliated withDepartment of Public Health and Community Medicine, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
  • , Staffan MårildAffiliated withDepartment of Public Health and Community Medicine, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
  • , Lucia ReischAffiliated withCopenhagen Business School
  • , Christina BergAffiliated withDepartment of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg

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Abstract

Objectives

This study investigated the associations between children’s screen habits and their consumption of sweetened beverages. Because parents might be disposed to regulate their child’s screen and dietary habits in a similar direction, our specific aim was to examine whether these associations were independent of parental norms.

Methods

In the Swedish sample of the European Identification and prevention of dietary and lifestyle-induced health effects in children and infants (IDEFICS) study, parents filled in questionnaires about their 2 to 9-year-old children’s (n = 1,733) lifestyle and diets.

Results

Associations between screen habits and sweetened beverage consumption were found independent of parental norms regarding sweetened beverages. A longitudinal analysis revealed that sweetened beverage consumption at 2-year follow-up was predicted by exposure to commercial TV at baseline (OR 1.4, 95 % CI 1.1–1.9). Cross-sectional analysis showed that the likelihood of consuming sweetened beverages at least 1–3 times per week increased for each hour/day watching television (OR 1.5, 95 % CI 1.2–1.9), and for being exposed to commercials (OR 1.6, 95 % CI 1.3–2.1). TV viewing time and commercial exposure contributed to the associations independently of each other.

Conclusions

The results strengthen the assumption that it is possible to influence children’s dietary habits through their TV habits.

Keywords

Children Television Advertisements Soft drinks Parents Family Food habits