Study: TV Time Makes Young Children Fat

Too much time spent watching television may be to blame for some instances of excessive weight and obesity in young children, a new Canadian study suggests.

Every hour per day a child between the ages of 2.5 and 4.5 spends watching TV adds about a half millimeter to their waistline, BBC News reported July 15.

While that may not sound like much, it adds up. At the start of the study (at age 2.5), kids watched around 8.8 hours of TV per week, but by age 4.5 they were watching 14.8 hours per week, on average. And 15 percent of children watched 18 hours of television per week, the study shows.

By age 10, watching 18 hours per week of TV would translate to nearly a third of an inch wider waistline, the researchers say.

“Watching more television not only displaces other forms of educational and active leisurely pursuits but also places [children] at risk of learning inaccurate information about proper eating,” says study co-author Linda Pagani, Ph.D., of the University of Montreal. “The bottom line is that watching too much television — beyond the recommended amounts — is not good.”

The study appears online in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

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