Childhood Obesity and its relationship to Television

Childhood Obesity and its relationship to TelevisionIn today’s modern society in the United States, childhood and adolescent obesity is on the rise. Unfortunately, weight loss is on the decline. According to recent statistics by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2012 as many as one in every three children were considered to be obese or overweight.

Children who are viewing more than one hour of television per day will adapt to feeling less motivation and in turn hindering weight loss, while most likely an increased desire to watch more television. This behavior is unhealthy, as it takes away not only from social stimulation, but also cardiovascular and other important activities such as exercise.

In a Study conducted by The University of Virginia with over 11,000 children, tests demonstrated that this continued behavior (backed by statistical data from the CDC) demonstrate a doubling in nature of obesity and quadruple effect on adolescents as they increase their “TV time” across the nation.

Through taking into consideration statistical data collected by the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey or CLS, information is demonstrated showing how school preparedness and cognitive development can be hindered through prolonged daily exposure to television by children and adolescents. Specifically, interfering with memory collection methods and application, as well as lowering motivation or amount of time committed to scholarly studies and social activities. This study was based off of the amount that these children watched television on a daily basis, and compared it to a representable similar technology: computers. While statistics were not collected and do not currently show similar side effects or intellectual deprivation, it is speculated that computer usage also can cause although much less, a measurable level of interference with social and academic commitments–as well as weight loss and management. Conversely, since it is less common to eat while using computers than watching television, we may appreciate why one form of technology is being attributed more strongly to weight gain than the other.

According to recent research conducted by Dr. Mark D. DeBoer, an associate professor in Pediatrics with the division of Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of Virginia, children can expect a 60% to 70% increase in weight gain and sustained overweight unhealthy study habits when exceeding 60 minutes per day of television. Per the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the average kindergarten aged child watches at least three hours of television per day. The AAP recommends children watch no more than 2 hours per day, to promote more opportunity for weight loss—as DeBoer agrees. Depriving our children, society’s future, of physical and social activities indirectly or not is reprehensible and it is our job to educate fellow parents and interested parties alike of the associated risks. Some might argue that public education on the matter is not addressed enough. Additional research will be conducted by DeBoer to investigate further causes of childhood obesity associated with Television in the near future, as they take steps to collect longitudinal data representing short term to long-term effects in varying ages of youth.

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