Researchers at Pennington Biomedical Research Center found a link between obesity and children having TV sets in their bedrooms.

The report, published Tuesday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that children with TV sets in their bedrooms were likely to watch more TV, have more fat and a higher waist circumference than boys and girls who didn’t have TVs in their bedrooms. They were also three times more likely to have elevated cardiometabolic risk and elevated triglycerides.

The report was based on a yearlong study of nearly 370 Baton Rouge children, ranging in ages 5 to 18.

Amanda Staiano, a postdoctoral research fellow who co-authored the report along with Peter Katzmarzyk, a professor at Pennington, said a bedroom TV may create additional disruption to healthy habits in children.

“For instance, having a bedroom TV is related to lower amounts of sleep and lower prevalence of regular family meals, independent of total TV viewing time,” Staiano said in a statement. “Both short sleep duration and lack of regular family meals have been related to weight gain and obesity.”

Katzmarzyk said it is hypothesized that higher levels of TV viewing and the presence of a TV in the bedroom are associated with cardiometabolic risk.

The average American child between 8 to 18 watches about 4.5 hours of TV each day. Seventy percent of children have a TV in the bedroom and about one-third are considered obese.

Earlier studies have shown that TV viewing time during childhood continues into adulthood, resulting in excess weight and elevated total cholesterol.