It’s no secret that our children are more exposed to childhood obesity than other kids used to a few decades ago. From 1980 to 2013, the number of children who are overweight or obese has increased by 50 %. In the U.S.A., in 2011, studies have shown that one third of the children were obese or overweight. Last year, the World Health Organization, alarmed by the statistics, set a commission in order to put an end to this problem.
Thus, many studies have been carried out to establish the causes of childhood obesity and find ways to prevent it.
In the United States., the U.S. Department of Education studied obesity rates in relation to viewing habits and the outcome of the research was quite surprising. It showed that even a very small period of time spent in front of the TV can increase obesity risk by up to 72 %. Thus, if your child spends more than an hour a day watching his/her favorite cartoons, the risk of getting fat is there.
The group under analysis consisted of 12, 650 children who were going to kindergarten when the study began, in 2011. They were first measured, weighed and their Body Mass Index was calculated. The parents completed questionnaires regarding the amount of time they spent watching TV every day.
Other criteria , such as computer use, socioeconomic status, race, gender and ethnicity were taken into account, in order not to have the data misinterpreted. The same thing was done again (measuring their height and weight) with 10,853 kids, a year later.
The researchers reached the conclusion that the ones who spent more than one hour in front of the TV were by up to 39 % more inclined to be overweight just before leaving kindergarten and enrolling in schools.
The group that was subjected to this study spent an average of 3.3 hours a day watching television.
The author of the study, Dr. Mark DeBoer from the University of Virginia stated that it is parents duty to limit viewing time after seeing the results of this report. He pinpoints the fact that even two hours of TV is too much, even if health experts currently place this period of time in the safe zone, as long as it is not extended.
The results of the study were shown at the Paediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in San Diego.
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