TV habits 'can predict kids' waist size and fitness'

Children watching television Experts say children should not watch more than two hours of TV a day

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Children who increase the number of hours of weekly television they watch between the ages of two and four years old risk larger waistlines by age 10.

A Canadian study found that every extra weekly hour watched could add half a millimetre to their waist circumference and reduce muscle fitness.

The study, in a BioMed Central journal, tracked the TV habits of 1,314 children.

Experts say children should not watch more than two hours of TV a day.

Researchers found that the average amount of television watched by the children at the start of the study was 8.8 hours a week.

This increased on average by six hours over the next two years to reach 14.8 hours a week by the age of four-and-a-half.

Fifteen per cent of the children in the study were watching more than 18 hours per week by that age, according to their parents.

The study said the effect of 18 hours of television at 4.5 years of age would by the age of 10 result in an extra 7.6mm of waist because of the child's TV habit.

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    Start Quote

    Watching more television displaces other forms of educational and active leisurely pursuits”

    End Quote Dr Linda Pagani University of Montreal
    'Bottom line'

    As well as measuring waist circumference, the researchers also carried out a standing long jump test to measure each child's muscular fitness and athletic ability.

    An extra weekly hour of TV can decrease the distance a child is able to jump from standing by 0.36cm, the study said.

    The researchers said that further research was needed to work out whether television watching is directly responsible for the health issues they observed.

    Dr Linda Pagani, study co-author from the University of Montreal, said it was a warning about the factors which could lead to childhood obesity.

    "The bottom line is that watching too much television - beyond the recommended amounts - is not good," Dr Pagani said.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children aged over two should not watch more than two hours of television per day.

    Dr Pagani added: "Across the occidental world, there have been dramatic increases in unhealthy weight for both children and adults in recent decades.

    "Our standard of living has also changed in favour of more easily prepared, calorie-dense foods and sedentary practices.

    "Watching more television not only displaces other forms of educational and active leisurely pursuits but also places them at risk of learning inaccurate information about proper eating."

    The study said that habits and behaviours became entrenched during childhood and these habits might affect attitudes to sporting activities in adulthood.


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    • rate this

      Comment number 11.

      Its about time institutions stop getting funding when such reports are published. Such a shame that people will be getting Phd's which such a report

    • rate this

      Comment number 10.

      Why do people waste money on this needless rubbish, there are plenty of diseases and viruses that these people would be better spending there time researching.

    • rate this

      Comment number 9.

      Sitting for extended periods in front of a screen contributes to reduced physical activities, fitness levels. Exposure to excessive amounts of social media can have a negative impact on social skills development, instant gratification is preferred. Feeding junk food leads to a higher risk of diabetes. No Ball Games Permitted leads to more screen time. Where is my Doctorate, where is my fee?

    • rate this

      Comment number 8.

      Depends if they are exercising or eating at the same time. What a load of nonsense.

    • rate this

      Comment number 7.

      this is a failed report as always trying to be sensational rather than hard facts sad to say but kids since the late 60's have watched tv and even though the rubbish they have today is of no value they wil always watch tv many like myself watched loads when growing up and i still went out and was a productive member of society, even to the point of being a major critic of many modern shows.

    • rate this

      Comment number 6.

      Is this true of general inactivity or specifically TV? If I sat a child on the sofa and read to them for an hour after they've done their allowance of tv watching would that be as bad as watching that extra 1 hour of tv? I do believe everyone watches too much tv, I watch about 2-3 hours a week thats enough for me!

    • rate this

      Comment number 5.

      I can't see anything in this report referring to how many fast food and sweet ads these kids were watching whilst watching tv.
      I would have thought that this would be significant in such a study or didn't anyone think of that?
      God bless the food industry we now have the biggest Mc Donalds here in Olympic village - I shudder to think what might be our thoughts on this in 25yrs time...

    • rate this

      Comment number 4.

      They needed to do a study to predict if you sit on your bottom for long periods of time, with no exercise, that you will gain weight ...... Oh My !!

    • rate this

      Comment number 3.

      Well, if their parents can't afford days out, what else are they going to do?

    • rate this

      Comment number 2.

      An extra weekly hour of TV can decrease the distance a child is able to jump from standing by 0.36cm, the study said
      1 Hour of TV = 0.36cm ? Oh come on, who on earth would believe that ?

    • rate this

      Comment number 1.

      "TV habits 'can predict kids' waist size and fitness'"

      No $|-|!t, Sherlock.


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