Peel those kids away from the TV this summer.
A study conducted at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., has found that children and adolescents who watched more than four hours per day of TV were 2.5 times more likely to have heightened risks for chronic disease than those who watched less than an hour per day.
The study was looking for cardio-metabolic risk factors, which are signals that the body could be heading in the direction of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
These included obesity, hypertension, fats in the blood and glucose intolerance.
“These risk factors are becoming more prevalent in children and adolescents,” says Valerie Carson, a PhD student in the school of kinesiology and health studies, who was lead author on the paper.
“This particular study found the most significant health risk at greater than four hours per day (of TV). This is concerning because these risk factors can track from childhood to adulthood,” she adds.
Carson and her supervisor Ian Janssen, associate professor in the school of kinesiology and health studies at Queen’s, took into account age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, physical activity levels and diet, and still drew the same conclusion.
“Even if children and adolescents are active, if they engaged in high daily TV use, they may still have cardio-metabolic risk factors,” says Carson.
For the study, she and Dr. Janssen studied the habits of 2,527 children and adolescents who were enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES).
TV is really quite wicked: other studies have found excessive screen time is linked to increased violence, negative self-image, and higher amounts of smoking, drinking and drug use.
Carson’s article was published recently in the journal BMC Public Health.