What are the television viewing and eating habits of children in Peru?

Peter Busse, Ramón Díaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Contribution to Journal)peer-review

9 Scopus citations


© The Author(s) 2014. While there is already consensus in the scientific community about the deleterious effects of TV exposure, especially through TV advertisements, on children’s beliefs, preferences, and food intake, the link between TV and children’s eating behaviors is under-studied in Peru, a country experiencing a steady economic growth in recent years and currently with a status of upper-middle-income country. Following research about the effects of media exposure on childhood obesity, we report on a qualitative study of TV viewing and the eating habits of children attending elementary schools in Lima, the capital. Data from eight focus groups with 38 boys and girls between 6 and 11 years old, eight focus groups with 36 female caretakers, and in-depth interviews with two fathers provided consistent information about children’s eating habits and media viewing patterns. After dual coding the entire corpus of qualitative data, we found that children watch a great deal of TV during the school season: children watch as early as when they wake up in the morning, then during lunchtime (after returning from school), and then again after completing their homework from 5 pm to 9 pm or 10 pm. Survey data from the parents showed that, on average, children watch about 5 hours of TV on weekdays and more during a weekendday. This large amount of exposure is concerning, especially because the focus groups revealed that children (1) recall a number of TV advertisements involving food items, (2) request food items seen on TV, and (3) are able to buy food for themselves, which usually involves chocolate, candy, or potato chips. Boys and girls reported different favorite TV shows, suggesting differences in exposure to TV content related to food. In addition, some families reported drinking sodas frequently, underlining a behavior that should be discouraged by public health officials.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)50-60
Number of pages11
JournalGlobal Health Promotion
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

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