Too much holiday TV can increase kids’ health risk

January 2, 2009

A new study has found that too much television during school holidays can put children at greater health risks.

In the study over 4500 Australian school children, the researchers found that they were spending 70 pct of their time sitting in front of TV screens during holidays.

Moreover, 10 per cent of boys are “extreme screeners” – glued to a screen for 7.5 hours a day.

Study author and University of South Australia Professor Tim Olds has warned parents to keep their children away from screens these holidays.

“Don’t put a TV in their room, switch it off when it’s not being used and make rules around watching TV, using computers and playing games,” the Courier Mail quoted Professor Olds as saying.

“It seems (from the health data collected in the study) to be more important to get kids away from the screen than getting them to run around,” he added.

The study also found that obese or poor children generally spent more time watching screens than their thinner or wealthier peers.

It also showed that girls spent 30 to 60 minutes less a day watching a TV or computer, but their health became poorer as they moved through their teens and became less active than boys.

Professor Olds said fewer students now walked or cycled to school.

“This research highlights how important it is that parents encourage children to be active during the holiday periods,” he added.

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