THURSDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- A study of 2-year-olds in Oregon finds that almost 20 percent watch more than the recommended two hours of television a day.
"The findings are pretty generalizable to the rest of the country," said study co-author Dr. John Oh, an epidemic intelligence service officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, working with Oregon Public Health.
Experts have warned that too much time in front of the TV could hamper a young child's mental development and raise the odds for obesity, and the new findings are "what many pediatricians know and have feared," said Dr. Gwen Wurm, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She was not involved in the study.
According to guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, children's TV time should be limited to no more than one or two hours a day of "quality programming," and TV sets should be kept out of their bedrooms.
However, Wurm said, "we know that many, many children are watching too much television. When TV becomes a major part of a child's life, there's a problem."
"That goes for anything that involves screen time," including computers and video games, she added. "Anything that involves a screen is really where the problem is at."
The study is published in the July 16 issue of the CDC's journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
In the report, Oh and colleagues used data from the Oregon Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring Survey to determine the TV watching habits of 2-year-olds throughout the state.
They found that on an average day, 19.6 percent of 2-year-olds watched at least two hours of TV. Several factors were associated with the amount of TV these children watched.
For example, about 36 percent of black mothers reported their child watched at least two hours of TV a day
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