That might not be true, but a new study, published today in BioMed Central's open access journal International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, has found that the more hours young children spend watching TV, the worse their muscular fitness and the larger their waist size as they approach their teens, with possible consequences for adult health.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two should not exceed more than two hours of TV viewing a day. However, evidence suggests that an increasing number of parents now use the television as an 'electronic babysitter'. As a consequence, a research group from the Université de Montréal, Canada, set out to determine whether there is a correlation between the number of hours spent watching TV in early childhood and subsequent physical fitness in the same school-age children.
The Canadian team used participants from the Québec Longitudinal Study of Child Development, and 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 0.361 cm decrease in the Standing Long Jump Test, indicating a decrease 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 0.047 cm for every hour of television 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 team's lead investigator, Dr Caroline Fitzpatrick from New York University who conducted this research at the Université de Montréal and Saint-Justine's Hospital Research Centre, commented, "TV is a modifiable lifestyle factor, and people need to be aware that toddler viewing habits may contribute to subsequent physical health." 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".
Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.
Article citation and URL available on request on the day of publication.
2. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (IJBNPA) is an open access, peer-reviewed online journal devoted to furthering the understanding of the behavioral aspects of diet and physical activity.
3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.
Hilary Glover | EurekAlert!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
19.01.2017 | Life Sciences
19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy