It’s not like we don’t know this, yet it seems easy for us to discount our common sense unless confronted with scientific research and evidence. So if you had any doubt or were just ignoring the voice in the back of your mind, the University of Montreal has completed a study that confirms our suspicions.
The more kids watch TV, the bigger they get!
The University of Montreal published the results of their study on July 16, 2012 in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity by lead author Dr. Caroline Fitzpatrick and senior author Dr. Linda Pagani. “We already knew that there is an association between preschool television exposure and the body fat of fourth grade children, but this is the first study to describe more precisely what that relationship represents,” Pagani explained.
Along with their parents, 1314 children from the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development database participated in this study. When the children were 2 to 5 years of age, their parents reported how many hours of television they watched on weekdays and the weekend. The average was 8.8 hours per week at the onset of the study. This figure increased on average by 6 hours over the next two years to reach 14.8 hours per week by the age of 5. Amazingly, 15% of the children participating in the study were already watching over 18 hours per week at the beginning of the study according to their parent’s reports.
In simple terms the study shows that kids increase their waist by half a millimetre for every extra weekly hour of TV the child watches on top of what they had been watching when he or she was 2.5. In other words, a child who watches 18 hours of television at 4.5 years of age will by the age of 10 have an extra 7.6 milllimetres of waist because of his or her habits.
Sedentary life style and processed foods no doubt also played a part, but the obvious link is that all three of these life choices can result in a life time of obesity for children. So now that we have empirical data, what do we do about it?
Turn off the TV! Get active and choose healthy foods. It starts somewhere. If mom and dad aren’t in your corner making good life style choices, what chance does a child have?
Let’s hear your comments. Jump in and tell us solutions you think will work.