The Undeniable Link Between TV and Childhood Obesity

As you know, your child's obesity risks rise with the more TV they watch on the weekend. Thankfully, according to two new studies, the less time you waste in front of the tube can be an important factor in losing those extra pounds and keeping them off.

In one study of some 5,000 patients participating in the National Weight Control Registry, those who lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for six years watched less than 10 hours of TV each week, far fewer than the national average (28 hours). And, not surprisingly, those who watched more TV were more prone to regain those extra pounds.

In the other study, 57 kids (ages 10-17) wearing pedometers for four days averaged some 8,000 steps each day, a minimum 27 percent less than they should be (11,000-13,000). And, the number of steps kids took each day dropped as they got older too. (By the way, experts say adults should be aiming for 10,000 steps -- 5 miles -- a day.)

Researchers believe children took fewer steps because they spent more than two hours a day in front of the tube.

TV is one of the most pernicious influences a child can have and I can't recommend stopping it more strongly. Not only does TV decrease their activity level, but it exposes them to commercials promoting worthless processed foods. Other things you can do to fight childhood obesity in your home:

USA Today November 1, 2005

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