Thursday, August 13, 2009

TV and Children's Health

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Because children tend to imitate what they see, parent, consumer, medical and halth groups have long critized the types of foods featured or advertised on children's programs (such as sugar coated cereals, pop, candy, deserts, snacks and fast foods). They have noted the poor health haboits of many prime time TV heroes and heroines -everything from driving without seatbelts to drinking, eating junk foods or indulging in high risk behavior. Pressure from these groups has paid off to certain extent; high risk behavior like smoking or driving without seatbelts have either disappeared from the small screen, or diminished in recent years.

TV and Obesity

At least one research study(Diets and Gortmaker, 1985) has found a relationship between heavy TV viewing and obesity in some children and adolescents. The reasons that were suggested include:

-The fact that watching TV requires very little energy compared to other activities.
-The viewing replaces activities that use up more energy;
-The habit of snacking often accompanies TV viewing;
-High-calorie food is advertised or otherwise features on TV
-Favorite TV stars, who may eat a lot without ever seeming to gain weight , are imitated

TV and Health

In another study, this time teenage boys (Tucker;1987), heavy viewers showed poorer physical and emotional fitness, and practiced unhealthier lifestyles (including substance abuse), than did their light or moderate TV viewing peers. While there was no suggestion that this was a case of cause and effect (there were other possible reasons for the test results), heavy viewing is guilty by association.

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