Well­ness Arti­cles

Chil­dren Watch­ing TV Linked to Poor Health Later in Life

A study just released has linked exces­sive tele­vi­sion watch­ing by chil­dren to poor health later in life. The study was reported by both Reuters Health on July 16, 2004, and by the Lon­don Asso­ci­ated Press on July 15, 2004. The study was per­formed at the Uni­ver­sity of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.

The study showed that chil­dren who watch more than two hours of tele­vi­sion a night dur­ing child­hood and ado­les­cence seem to be at higher risk of high cho­les­terol lev­els, smok­ing, poor fit­ness, and being over­weight in adult­hood. The orig­i­nal study was pub­lished in the July 17, 2004 issue of The Lancet.

The study involved 1000 uns­e­lected sub­jects who were born in Dunedin New Zealand in the early 1970s and fol­lowed at reg­u­lar inter­vals until 26 years of age. The results showed that even an aver­age week­night view­ing of one to two hours between the ages of 5 and 15 was asso­ci­ated with higher body-​mass indices, lower cardio-​respiratory fit­ness, increased smok­ing and raised cholesterol.

Lead author Dr. Robert J. Han­cox, from the Uni­ver­sity of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, noted, “Our results sug­gest that exces­sive tele­vi­sion view­ing in young peo­ple is likely to have far-​reaching con­se­quences for adult health. We con­cur with the Amer­i­can Acad­emy of Pedi­atrics that par­ents should limit children’s view­ing to 1 to 2 hours per day; in fact, the data sug­gests that less than 1 hour a day would be even better.”

Drs. David S. Lud­wig direc­tor of the obe­sity pro­gram at Children’s Hos­pi­tal in Boston, and Steven Gort­maker, a soci­ol­ogy lec­turer at the Har­vard School of Pub­lic Health, note that “a likely expla­na­tion for these find­ings is that dietary and other lifestyle habits learned in child­hood and influ­enced by tele­vi­sion con­tinue into adult­hood. Ulti­mately, par­ents must reclaim from tele­vi­sion the respon­si­bil­ity for edu­cat­ing and enter­tain­ing their young children.”

Ran­dom Article

An inter­est­ing and odd series of sto­ries appear­ing from July 4th to the 6th, 2003 in a num­ber of papers reported that medical

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