Television and Child Obesity Do Go Hand in Hand

With so much screen based media available in today’s world, it is hard for parents to keep children away from technology. But besides the fact that the child is kept away from television to focus more on studies, the other concern for parents these days is obesity. There have been been studies conducted on this topic which establishes a direct link with the time spent in front of the television and child obesity. Each hour the children played video games or watched television doubles the likelihood that the child would turn obese. This is a matter of concern and should not at any cost be ignored.

At all times, kids are bombarded with advertising for high-calorie snack foods, for which they are tempted to eat, and at the same time, their hands are free to allow them to munch at will. In return, the kids are tempted to grab more junk food and parents have a tough time in the balancing act in keeping their healthy diet. Food marketing influences children’s food preferences and purchase requests in a major way, and marketers rely on this “pester power” to influence what parents buy. In addition, children who have TV sets in their bedrooms are also more likely to gain excess weight.

More than 40 percent of their leisure time is spent in front of the television, and with a TV set in a bedroom, the child’s outdoor activities are by default going to decrease. With less activities, the body becomes lethargic and in return slows the mind as well. Studies convincingly conclude that this ‘sit time’ in front of the TV would be responsible for displacing time for physical activity, promoting poor diets, giving more opportunities for unhealthy snacking and even by interfering with sleep.

Watching TV for more than three hours a day increases the chances of the child putting on weight whereas two hours of TV viewing has been observed not to have any effect the weight of the child. Several trials designed to reduce children’s TV use have found improvements in body mass index (BMI), body fat, and other obesity related measures. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children should watch no more than two hours of television each day. With such health problems, it would be advisable for parents to limit the frequency of television viewing by encouraging alternate forms of recreation and selective program choices.

Other than encouraging children for different kinds of recreational activities, parents should take good care of the child’s diet. It should not really be an exact weight goal set for the child, but eating healthy and cultivating a healthy eating habit should be the ideal focus for today’s parents. With this, it also becomes important for them to not pamper their child on a regular basis over their wants for junk food all the time. It is moreover seen that obesity affects more than one family member, and thus to keep a control over the weight gains, all the family members should adopt good eating habits which in return will improve the chances of successful weight control for the child or adolescent. One always needs to remember that lasting weight loss can only be possible when there is self motivation, and only parents can help the child in that way.

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