Too much TV time ups risk of heart disease in children
Washington: Kids watch out. If you laze around and watch television for long hours every day, you are likely to consume junk food and, thereby, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Incidentally, cardiovascular disease is the deadliest killer in the world today.
Watching television is worse than spending time on the computer or playing video games, says a recent study. “While too much of both types of screen time encourages sedentary behavior, our study suggests high TV time in particular is associated with poorer food choices and increased cardiovascular risk,” Elizabeth Jackson, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Michigan Systems.
Sixth-graders who reported watching between two and six hours of TV a day were more likely to have higher body mass index (BMI), elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressure and slower recovery heart rate compared with those reporting low screen time or kids who had comparable computer/video game use.
This is the first time researchers have looked at the impact of different kinds of screen time kids get in relation to snacking habits and physiological measures associated with heart health, according to the authors.
Jackson’s research found that kids who spent more time in front of a screen – regardless of the type – snack more frequently and are more likely to choose less healthy snacks.
High TV viewers and computer/video game users both reported eating roughly 3.5 snacks a day – one full snack more than kids who had minimal exposure to these technologies.
But children who watched two to six hours a day of TV were more likely than the high computer/video game group to eat high-fat foods such as French fries and chips. The research is to be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session in Washington DC.
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