One hour of TV a day linked to unhealthy weight in young kids
Kindergartners and first graders who watched only 60 minutes of TV a day were more likely to be overweight compared to kids who watched TV for less than an hour, according to research presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies. It's the first study to focus on a link between TV-watching and obesity in kindergartners.
To conduct their study, researchers analyzed data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey of 11,113 children who were in kindergarten during the 2011-2012 school year. Part of the study looked at lifestyle factors that could affect the child’s educational performance, including the number of hours of TV the children watched. A year later, the height and weight of 10,853 of the children were measured, and parents again were asked about their child's TV habits.
For starters, the results showed that U.S. kindergartners watched an average of 3.3 hours of TV a day. The research also found that kindergartners and first-graders who watched one to two hours or more than two hours daily had significantly higher body mass indexes than those who watched less than 30 minutes or 30 to 60 minutes a day. Furthermore, children viewing as little as one hour of TV daily were 50 to 60 percent more likely to be overweight and 58 to 73 percent more likely to be obese compared to those watching less than an hour.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting children and teens to two hours of screeen time a day. But based on the study's findings, its author, Dr. Mark DeBoer, says the organization may want to further adjust its recommendations.