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TV habits predict kids' waist size and sporting ability
Date:7/15/2012

ir parents reported how many hours of television during the week and weekend they watched. The average was 8.8 hours per week at the onset of the study, a figure that increased on average by 6 hours over the next two years to reach 14,8 hours per week by the age of 4.5 year. Thus, 15% of the children participating in the study were already watching over 18 hours per week according to their parent's reports at that time.

In terms of waist size, the researchers found that, at 4,5 years of age, the children's waist size increased by slightly less than half a millimetre for every extra weekly hour of TV the child was watching on top of what they had been watching when he or she was 2.5. To put it another way, a child who watches 18 hours of television at 4.5 years of age will by the age of 10 have an extra 7.6 milllimetres of waist because of his or her habits.

The researchers stress that while further research should be undertaken to establish that television watching is directly causing the health issues they observed, the study that was published today should encourage authorities to develop policies that target the environmental factors associated with childhood obesity. "The bottom line is that watching too much television beyond the recommended amounts is not good," Dr. Pagani said.

"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 favor 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. These findings support clinical suspicions that more screen time in general contributes to the rise in excess weight in our population, thus providing essential clues for effective approaches to its eradication." Children over the age of two
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Contact: William Raillant-Clark
w.raillant-clark@umontreal.ca
514-343-7593
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

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