Long Hours of TV Viewing Increase Cardiometabolic Risk in Kids
Studies have shown that American children aged 8-18 watch about 4 ½ hours of TV every day. More than two-thirds of these have a TV in their bedroom. Studies also show that one-third of children aged 6-19 are obese. Previous research suggests that habitual TV viewing during childhood and adolescence carries on into adulthood, which has been associated with overweight and increased cholesterol levels.
Lead investigator Peter T. Katzmarzyk, PhD from the Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA states that while most studies on the link between prolonged TV viewing and childhood obesity focus predominantly on body mass index (BMI), their new study looks more into cardiometabolic risk.
The study involved 369 children and adolescents aged 5-18 in Baton Rouge who were evaluated on their TV viewing habits, the presence or absence of a television in their bedroom, and a variety of cardiometabolic factors. These included BMI status, fat mass, waist circumference, stomach fat, blood pressure, triglycerides, HDL (good) cholesterol, and glucose levels.
Analysis of their results revealed that children who have a TV in the bedroom were more likely to spend longer viewing times and to have more fat and bigger waist circumference compared with peers who did not have a bedroom TV. The presence of a bedroom TV was also associated with three times increased cardiometabolic risk.
Study co-author Amanda Staiano, PhD adds that a bedroom TV may also disrupt healthy habits, such as getting enough amounts of sleep and having regular family meals, regardless of total TV viewing time.
Elsevier Health Sciences. Bedroom TV viewing increases risk of obesity in children: More than 2 hours of TV a day adds significantly to children’s waist size. ScienceDaily.