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Stricter Rules Can Steer Kids Away From TV
Date:6/14/2010

And physically active kids watch less television, researchers report

MONDAY, June 14 (HealthDay News) -- Children whose parents set limits on the amount of time spent watching television actually watch less TV, a new study finds.

Moreover, children who are physically active tend to spend less time in front of the tube, the researchers added.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends up to two hours of TV for children over 2 years of age," said lead researcher Susan A. Carlson, an epidemiologist at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, which is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We found that when children and parents agreed on the rules they were least likely to exceed the limit," she said.

Carlson noted that limiting TV time is important, because watching too much TV or spending too much time on the computer or playing video games is associated with an increased risk for obesity, alcohol abuse, early sexual practice, negative body concept, eating disorders, aggressive behavior and doing poorly in school.

Children's TV time should be spent watching "quality programs," Carlson said. "Children under 2 shouldn't be watching TV at all," she added.

Some of these problems may not be related to the time spent watching TV, but rather to the content of the programs, she noted.

The report was released online June 14 in advance of publication in the July print edition of Pediatrics.

For the study, Carlson's team surveyed the parents and children in 5,685 homes, asking about how much time children spent watching TV and whether there were rules limiting TV time.

In addition, the researchers asked about how physically active the children were.

In total, the study authors interviewed 7,415 children aged 9 to 15 years.

The researchers found that 27 percent of the children watch
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