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TV linked to poor snacking habits, cardiovascular risk in middle schoolers
Date:3/28/2014

s a day) and high computer/video games (two to six hours a day). Self-reported snack behavior and physiologic markers were then compared.

The research found that kids who spent more time in front of a screen regardless of the type snack more frequently and are more likely to choose less healthy snacks. High TV viewers and computer/video game users both reported eating roughly 3.5 snacks a day one full snack more than kids who had minimal exposure to these technologies. But children who watched two to six hours a day of TV were more likely than the high computer/video game group to eat high-fat foods such as French fries and chips.

Jackson said this is likely because these kids are bombarded by TV commercials that tend to reinforce less healthy foods often higher in sugar, salt and fats. In addition, kids tend to have free hands while watching TV as opposed to when they are on the computer or playing video games, which provides more opportunity for mindless snacking. Earlier studies have also shown that children tend to eat more when they watch TV.

"Snacks are important, and choosing a piece of fruit rather than a bag of chips can make a really big difference for one's health," Jackson said. "Parents need to monitor their kids' activities. Our results offer even more reason to limit the amount of TV time kids have and are right in line with current recommendations."

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting entertainment screen time to less than one or two hours per day. But children actually spend a whopping seven plus hours on entertainment media each day 4.5 of which are spent watching TV. Excessive media use has also been linked to obesity, attention problems, school difficulties and sleep and eating disorders.

"The wealth of studies now show a significant link between being overweight in childhood and continuing that trend into adulthood," Jackson said. "The more we can change behavior early on t
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Contact: Beth Casteel
bcasteel@acc.org
202-375-6275
American College of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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