Should kids ditch the TV for a PC?

Posted by Chris Nova

A recent study has concluded that sitting in front of a TV for an extended period of time may pose health risks for young children.

"Even if a child is physically active, this activity is really only making up a short period of their whole day," explains Valerie Carson, a doctoral candidate in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University.

"So it's important to look at other aspects of their day to see what's going on. Part of that is the kind of sedentary behaviors they engage in."
    
Previous research has determined that extended periods of of sedentary behavior puts adults at risk for developing cardiovascular diseases.

Interestingly enough, Carson observed no direct correlation between the amounts of sedentary behavior and the risk of diabetes or coronary heart disease in children.

However, she did note that certain types of inactivity have a more significant influence on children’s health than others.

Meaning, although TV-related inactivity doesn't directly lead to disease, it is a definite part of a risk factor evaluation where certain habits in people may contribute to the development of prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and various heart issues.

In addition, Carson determined that high levels of TV viewing predicted higher cardio-metabolic risk, while excessive use of a computer did not.
    
The reason? Perhaps because the act of TV viewing uses a very low amount of energy. Alternatively, activities similar to snacking between meals that frequently go hand-in-hand with specific kinds of screen viewing may be triggering the associated health risks.
   
"The take home message is that we want children to be more physically active, but then, at the same time, we need to think about what they're doing the rest of the time... Our study suggests we should also limit children's television viewing time."