DUNEDIN, New Zealand, July 16, 2004 ( – The current edition of The Lancet contains research conducted by scientists from Otago University, suggesting that any more than two hours of TV per day for children poses a significant health risk later in life.  The research team followed 1,000 children born in 1972 and 1973 from the age of three to 26. It was found that those who watched two hours or more of television were at greater risk for markers of cardiovascular disease – high cholesterol and obesity. Those who watched the greatest amount of TV were also more likely to be smokers. The findings were significant considering that the scientists had adjusted for family history of related health problems, Body Mass Index (BMI) of parents, parental smoking, and the child’s activity level.  “Although the adult health indicators that we have found to be associated with child and adolescent television viewing are unlikely to result in clinical health problems by the age of 26 years, they are well established risk factors for cardiovascular illness and death later in life,” lead researcher, Dr Robert Hancox, said, as reported by the BBC. “Our results suggest that excessive television viewing in young people is likely to have far-reaching consequences for adult health.”“We believe that reducing television viewing should become a population health priority,” Dr. Hancox said. He urged adults to “lead by example” and shut the TV off. “. . . data suggest that less than one hour a day would be even better” than the two hour limit suggested by the research.

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