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TV making children obese?

When I was growing up in the 1950s we didn't have Television. One or two of my school friends had one, and we would go round to their house after school and watch a bit of television with a tea of bread and jam. It was just a bit of TV. Mostly we played outdoors - running around playing cowboys, or reenacting exploits in WW2.

The more I think back, I realise just how much more active we were as children in all types of weather. We never seemed to do things standing still.

We now know that our lifestyles at an early age impact on our health and wellbeing in later life.

Adhering to a healthy lifestyle at age 4 years is associated with a decreased risk of overweight, obesity, and abdominal obesity at 7 years, according to a study published in Pediatric Obesity.

The study assessed five lifestyle behaviours—physical activity, sleep duration, television watching, ultra-processed food consumption, and plant-based food consumption—in 1,480 children when they were 4 years of age.

Limited TV time and low consumption of ultra-processed foods, along with high sleep time, physical activity, and consumption of plant-based foods were associated with lower body mass index and waist circumference and a lower likelihood of developing overweight or obesity and abdominal obesity at age 7 years.

Of course, there are many factors at work, but one stood out in this study. More extended TV viewing was the lifestyle factor that was most strongly associated with the development of obesity.





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