Does a TV or Computer in the Kitchen Encourage Overeating?

Does a TV or Computer in the Kitchen Encourage Overeating?

Taryn Williford
Feb 26, 2013

Most advice about healthy living is common sense. A better bed means better sleep. Staring at a screen for too long will bring on eye fatigue. But some tips seem, well... way off. Like this one about TVs and computers in the kitchen.

Home maintenance and renovation site House Logic lists 9 Kitchen Details that Will Make you Fat in a recent slideshow. The first feature that's suggested to extra pounds? A TV in the kitchen.

It might look harmless enough, but that little TV and convenient stool is a ready-made snacking station. Distractions, such as watching television and web surfing, lead to mindless munching, especially with a whole cornucopia of goodies within arm's reach.

It sounds like a false correlation at first. It's possible that people who overeat prefer to have TVs in the kitchen, and not the other way around. Or maybe there's no correlation at all, and it's just a blog post meant to get you thinking about how your home affects your habits.

On the other hand, studies have shown that mindless eaters do eat more. A 2007 study from Brian Wansink, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, found that watching television while eating leads to people eating 40 percent more food. You could reach the assumption that keeping a TV in the same room where you sore and prepare food would amplify the issue.

Without any real evidence to argue for either side, we want to open it up to your opinions and advice. Do you have a TV or computer in the kitchen? Does watching or surfing in the kitchen lead you to eat more overall? Or does your kitchen media station serve a different purpose, like following along with Food Network? Share your experiences in the comments.

(Images: Rajiv's Bangalore Wabi Sabi, House Logic)

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