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Just one hour of TV daily can lead to child obesity

Posted by Sally O'Brien, on 28/04/2015. Just one hour of TV daily can lead to child obesityTags: Parenting

Children who watch more than one hour of TV a day are more likely to become overweight and obese than those who don’t, according to new research.

The US study done by researchers at American Academy of Pediatrics at the University of Virginia found that even a small amount of screen time, much less than previously thought, was enough to influence children’s weight gain.

“Children who watch one to two hours of TV a day, as opposed to those who watch less, are more likely to be overweight and obese at kindergarten and first grade," said the study's lead author, Dr. Mark DeBoer, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Virginia.”

Referring to those in preschool, ‘DeBoer said, "children who watched one to two hours of television a day were 43 percent more likely to be overweight and 47 percent more likely to be obese compared to children who watched less than an hour." The more they watched, the higher the likelihood, he found.’

‘The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children limit their total screen time — including time in front of the TV — to less than two hours per day. But these results suggest their advice may be overly generous.’

“Given the data presented in this study, the AAP may wish to lower its recommended TV viewing allowances,” Dr. Mark DeBoer, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Virginia, said in a statement.

Ireland is facing it’s own obesity crisis with one in four children in Ireland now obese or overweight, with the Irish Heart Foundation calling it the ‘most common nutritional disorder in the world.’

According to IHF, one in ten 5-12 year olds is overweight and a further one in ten is obese. In total, 22% of 5-12 year olds are overweight or obese. One in five teenagers are also overweight or obese (11% overweight and 8% obese).

For more information on obesity and overweight children please see our health and wellbeing section.

Source: Irish Heart Foundation.


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