Watching TV makes you weak

Watching TV makes you weak

Watching TV makes you weak

Does your child spend too much of time watching TV? Beware, as a new study has found that young children who watch too much TV are more likely to have a larger waistline and weak muscular fitness as teens.

The more hours they spend watching television, the worse their muscular fitness and the larger their waist size as they approach their teens, with possible consequences for adult health, found the study published in the journal International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

It’s recommended that children below two years should not exceed more than two hours of TV viewing a day. But, evidence suggests an increasing number of parents now use television as an “electronic babysitter”.

To find out whether there is any impact of childhood TV watching on physical fitness later in life, a team from the University of Montreal in Canada looked at the data of a large Longitudinal Study of Child Development study.

The team assessed parental reports of the number of hours the child spent watching TV per week at 29 and 53 months of age. Muscle strength and abdominal fat correlate with fitness, and, were therefore measured when children were in the second and fourth grade, using the standing long jump test and waist circumference.

The authors found that each hour per week of television watched at 29 months corresponded to a 0.361cm decrease in the Standing Long Jump Test, indicating a fall in muscle strength. An extra hour’s increase in weekly TV exposure between 29 and 53 months of age predicted an extra 0.285 cm reduction in test performance.

Also significant was that waist circumference at fourth grade increased by 0.047cm for every hour of TV watched between the ages of 29 and 53 months, corresponding to a 0.41 cm increase in waistline by age 10, or a 0.76 cm increase for those who watched more than 18 hours of TV a week.

Since physical fitness is directly related to future health and longevity, increased waist size and reduced muscular strength that carries into adulthood could predict negative health outcomes later in life, the researchers said.

“TV is a modifiable lifestyle factor, and people need to be aware that toddler viewing habits may contribute to subsequent physical health,” said lead author Dr Caroline Fitzpatrick from New York University who conducted the study at the University of Montreal.

She continued, “Further research will help to determine whether amount of TV exposure is linked to any additional child health indicators, as well as cardiovascular health”.

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