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TVs Common in Daycare Centers, Flouting Guidelines
Date:5/3/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- More than two-thirds of daycare centers included in a new U.S. study have TVs available for children to watch, and nearly 60 percent of the centers ignored the American Academy of Pediatrics' guidelines for television exposure in young kids.

The study, conducted in Ohio, suggests that many children at daycares may be missing out on the kind of hands-on learning that only human interaction can bring.

"The thing about television is that if it's developmentally appropriate, it's not evil, but it comes at the expense of interpersonal interaction, which is really how children achieve developmental goals," explained one expert, Dr. Rahil Briggs, director of the Healthy Steps program at Montefiore Medical Group in New York City. She was not involved in the new study.

"When children are plopped in front of the TV, they can be missing out on what's more important for social and language development: social interaction," she said.

The findings are slated to be presented Tuesday at the Pediatric Academies Societies meeting in Denver.

For youngsters in child care, the American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends that children under 2 watch no TV at all. For kids in childcare over 2, the AAP suggests that TV should be on no more than once a week, and for no more than 30 minutes per session, according to the study.

There's good reason for the guidelines, experts say.

"The evidence around TV and children is that TV viewing is associated with obesity, which may be because it's replacing physical activity time, kids may be eating while they're watching TV, or because of exposure to food ads," said Dr. Kristen Copeland, lead author of the new study.

"In children under 2, the concern is with learning and cognitive development. Learning occurs mostly through interaction with adults," said Copeland, who is assistant professo
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