When children spend more time watching TV, they are less likely to spend time actively playing inside or outside. Decreased activity leads directly to additional weight gain. Too much screen time leads to damaging risks to your child's health.
Children as young as seven years old may have their TV in their room with unlimited access to screen time.
The detailed study looked at the information they collected from over 12,000 children in the United Kingdom. First, parents whose children have a TV in their bedroom were asked, in general, how many hours per day their child spent in front of the screen. Once the children reached 11 years old, doctors and researchers put their body mass index on a chart to determine their level of body fat.
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The findings were truly astonishing. If a young girl had a TV in her room by seven years old, she had a 30% increased risk of becoming overweight by the time she reaches 11 years old! Boys have a slightly decreased risk. If a young boy has a TV by seven years old, the risk for obesity is 20% higher.
Researchers needed to figure out why a TV drastically increases the risk for obesity. There could be two potential reasons. The first is that children tend to get less sleep if they have a TV in their room. Instead of falling asleep, these children stay up too late watching shows and snacking too frequently.
Girls do tend to be less physical than boys. Instead of riding bikes, your daughter might prefer to read or make crafts. It makes sense that further decreasing the amount of time girls would spend on physical activity would increase the risk of obesity.
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Snacking more frequently is the second reason for the obesity rate. Eating snacks and watching your favorite TV show go hand in hand. While eating an appropriate snack once a day during a TV show isn't necessarily a bad thing, it is bad if your child snacks too frequently on unhealthy food.
Poor eating habits are at the forefront of obesity. Children see more junk food TV commercials while watching cartoons. It leads to poor choices for snacks and meals. Together, with increased screen time and decreased sleeping, it creates a dangerous path towards obesity.
Story Source: BBC News