More Weekend TV Time Increases Your Child's Obesity Risks

If you want to know why I urge you so often to restrict your kid's TV time, here's a good reason: A British study found the more TV kids watched on weekends, the greater risk they had of becoming obese.

Researchers studied the health of more than 11,000 children born in 1970 through age 30 to determine if the timing and kind of TV programs kids watched as well as their moms' attitudes toward the "idiot box" affected their weight as adults.

Although parental attitudes, weekday TV viewing or the kind of shows kids watched had no effect on obesity, each hour children spent on weekends in front of the tube increased their risk of obesity at age 30 by 7 percent.

However, another study in the same journal doesn't let parents off the hook for their bad habits. Forty percent of the 173 girls (ages 9-11) studied watched more than two hours of TV a day, exceeding the American Academy of Pediatrics looser standards. Girls who typically watched more than two hours a day weren't limited by their parents (and did more of it together as a family) and leaned on it as a vital recreational activity.

The latter study certainly matches statistics I posted here earlier this year in which only 23 percent of parents restricted their child's media viewing habits.

If you're looking for things to do with your child that have nothing at all to do with sitting in front of a TV, I urge you to review a comprehensive list I posted last year that can help you stem the tide of obesity in your home.

Journal of Pediatrics, Vol. 147, No. 4, October 2005: 429-435

Journal of Pediatrics, Vol. 147, No. 4, October 2005: 436-442

Yahoo News October 25, 2005

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