Watching television is harder on children’s health than are other sedentary activities such as playing video games or using computers.
The more television children watch, the higher their blood pressure — regardless of their weight — according to a new study from researchers in Spain and the United States.
- More than 100 children (ages three to eight) wore meters that measured their activity levels.
- The average child in the study was inactive for five hours a day, with 1.5 hours spent in front of television sets.
- Children who watched 90 to 330 minutes a day had blood pressure readings five to seven points higher than those of children who watched less than 30 minutes of television a day.
“These results show that sedentary behavior and more specifically television viewing is related to blood pressure and independent of body fat or obesity level,” said Dr. Joey Eisenmann of Michigan State University, a co-author of the study.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two do not watch television at all, and that older children should limit their TV viewing to no more than two hours a day.
The study appeared in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.