Monday May 3, 2010

Too Much TV for Toddlers Dangerous Says New Study

MONTREAL, May 3, 2010 ( – Children who are exposed to higher television at 29 months of age appear to have more problems in school and poorer health behaviors in fourth grade, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Linda S. Pagani, Ph.D., of Université de Montréal, Canada, and colleagues studied 1,314 children in this age group whose parents reported their weekly hours of television exposure.

The researchers assessed parent and teacher reports of the children’s academic, psychosocial and health behaviors as well as their body mass index (BMI) in fourth grade.

Each additional hour of television in early childhood corresponded to a 7 percent unit decrease in classroom engagement, 6 percent unit decrease in math achievement, 10 percent unit increase in victimization by classmates, 13 percent unit decrease in time spent doing weekend physical activity, 9 percent unit decreases in activities involving physical effort, 9 percent higher scores for consumption of soft drinks and 10 percent higher scores for consumption of snacks, as well as a 5 percent unit increase in BMI.

“The long-term risks associated with higher levels of early exposure may chart developmental pathways toward unhealthy dispositions in adolescence,” the authors conclude. “A population-level understanding of such risks remains essential for promoting child development.”


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